Key Isipingo medical centre destroyed, losses amount to millions
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THE destruction of a medical practice with 21 years of service to communities surrounding the south of Durban town of Isipingo has left the medical centre’s owner and doctor in despair and contemplating where he will raise the millions needed to get his business up and running once more.
Dr Shiraaz Meer, who has run the Impilo Care Medical centre in the heart of Isipingo since 2000, said that the business had lost upwards of R5 million due to the vandalism that his business suffered.
Meer said that they had also lost all their medical records, business records and other forms of bookkeeping critical to the running of the medical centre.
He said that his and his partners’ running of the medical practice was based on Conscientious Practice to give the poor the look, feel and experience of a rich man who is going to a medical aid practice but at cheaper prices.
He said that when they started off the practice, they charged only R25 for children and R35 for adults, and that they were now charging in the region of R120 for children and R150 for adults, including consultations and medicines.
“It went from a small place, and we worked hard, day and night, seven days a week, and we built it up to give a service to the community,” Meer said.
The Impilo Medical Centre, in the heart of Isipingo, was looted and gutted on Tuesday. Video: Samkelo Mtshali/IOL Political Bureau
The centre, which services communities surrounding Isipingo such as the townships of Umlazi, Folweni, KwaMakhutha, Illovo, KwaFelekisi, Malukazi, Umgababa, Umnini, Mfume and Ilfracombe, was left stripped bare of medical equipment costing over R1 million, including printers, computers, CCTV network, multiple ultrasound equipment and wall units costing R20 000 each in 12 cubicles and expensive hospital ICU standard Blood Pressure Monitoring machines.
“This is not the doing of my patients, I promise you. This is not my patients. My patients will never do this. These are people who don’t know Impilo, who don’t know what we do for the people. These are those types of people.
“Our stock loss is about R2.5 million. We always carry big stock because we buy when the prices are cheap so that we can give our patients cost- effective medicine,” Dr Meer said.
He added that he had met with a structural engineer, building contractor and electrical engineer on Friday, and the estimate of rebuilding would cost around R9.5 million.
Workers from the medical centre could be seen walking in and out of the centre, bemoaning that they had lost their jobs due to the extensive damage that the centre had suffered during the looting and destruction that engulfed the province in the past week.
“The staff is crying, the patients as well. Not a single person has said ‘Doctor, when are you opening?’, they are all saying: ‘Doctor we are here for you, may you survive this and please do not leave us.’ They say they will wait for us and they will come back.
“It’s very hard. Yesterday, I had to go and look for medicines for my ageing father, who’s 93-years-old, so I can understand what the patients are going through. It is going to be so difficult,” Dr Meer said.