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The Phomolong Community in Hennenman was brought together to discuss and engage stakeholders about their Right to Healthcare. They were joined by the Phomolong Clinic Committee, Department of Health and Hennenman Victim Empowerment Forum.

The workshop was aimed at promoting people’s access to healthcare. It was an attempt to open dialogue in the community and to tease out their problems with the health care system and tap into the possible solutions that the community has or can suggest. Crucial issues about the holistic nature of healthcare were taught at the workshop, it was demonstrated that living conditions enable people to be healthy, adequate food and the environment play a huge role in how people experience healthcare in our country.

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Hennenman Victim Empowerment Forum’s Bonny Nyelele reported that his organisation has trained and accredited 100 young people in healthcare work through various partnerships. Such initiatives help to identify challenges in the community within the healthcare system and are able to refer them to the DOH.  They conduct community profiles, trace treatment defaulters and conduct awareness campaigns which are much needed in rural communities. Through this training, the concerns of the community about ambulance services, treatment not being available in time and the attitude of clinic staff towards patients were raised as issues of serious concern.

At the workshop, concerns and resolutions were raised. One of them was initiating an SMS service that alerted patients to whether their treatment is ready for collection or not. Many people struggled with long queues only to find that their medication was not available. Such suggestions and many more are to be taken to the DOH where solutions can be implemented to upgrade the healthcare system in Phomolong.

Healthcare services must be accessible, acceptable, and of good quality for everyone, on an equitable basis, where and when needed.

Mathapelo Mpotseng from the DOH presented the mandate of rendering effective and efficient healthcare services to the entire South African community and making sure that citizen’s right to healthcare is protected. She expanded on topics such as confidentiality and privacy; the right to complain and the importance of patients receiving a second medical opinion. Her presentation was met with many concerns which were raised by those in attendance. Issues such as Clinic Committees not being visible enough to discuss day to day issues with the Clinic Management and that the Hospital Board is unknown to the community.  They were calling for more transparency and representation.

The workshop concluded with Health promoter, Bongi Sfumba demonstrating to the audience how to  use female condoms and encouraging the men in the audience to help their partners and be supportive when it comes to various forms of contraceptives.

Listen to a clip from the workshop that was produced by CJN and HVE