Cape Town-130130-Vivian Williams (left) takes her grandson Thurston (5) to the new Eerste River clinic. On the right is Ni-shaat Dastagir. Reporter Zara Nichollson. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams

Zara Nicholson

Metro Writer

IN EERSTERIVIER patients previously endured nine-hour waits, squashed in small prefab clinics, waiting for health care.

But yesterday a new R17 million clinic, open since October, was officially opened by Mayor Patricia de Lille.

Resident Vivien Williams said the new facility was vastly different from the prefab Russels Rest and Hillcrest prefab clinics which residents from Eersteriver and surrounding areas used for 20 years.

Due to the dire facilities and severe staff shortage, about 250 patients would arrive each day before 7am and would only leave by 4pm.

“The old clinic was very, very small and no facilities really. We used to sit there all day. Here we’ve been helped much quicker but I do think the facilities need an optometrist and dentist,” Williams said.

While she was impressed with the look of the new clinic which has ample space and consulting rooms, she said the facility only had nurses and desperately needed a doctor.

Williams and grandson Thurston, 5, moved quickly from one room to the next during his visit yesterday.

“For the amount of patients here today, things moved sharply. It definitely makes a difference to the time and, honestly, the service has improved tremendously.”

De Lille said at the opening that apart from new clinics and upgrading existing facilities, the city’s broader plan was to deliver basic services to residents most in need.

“The new facility has more space to accommodate a comprehensive package of primary health-care services ranging from female and reproductive services to TB treatment.

“In future it will also have anti-retroviral treatment and basic ante-natal care.”

In December 3 368 patients visited the clinic compared to 2 600 in the last month at the old clinic.

“Due to the addition of new health services, the clinic will now be in a position to treat an average of 40 000 patients a year, thereby extending much needed health-care services to more vulnerable residents,” De Lille said.

The city’s executive director for health, Ivan Bromfield, said Eersterivier clinic was the fifth new clinic the city had built since 2007. They were advertising for a doctor and hoped to appoint one soon.

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