Nurses accused of humiliating HIV patients

By Buziwe Nocuze

Patients who enter the clinics in KwaLanga Township for antiretroviral treatment have said that they leave with everyone knowing their HIV-status and their dignity shattered.

This is because of the “unprofessional” nurses in public clinics in the township who fail to keep their patients’ illness confidential.

Thousands of patients all over the country are defaulting from their treatment and end up dying because of fear of public shaming.

Experts say that stigma surrounding being HIV-positive can result in patients abandoning their treatment.

Some patients told Scrolla.Africa that they have been insulted and embarrassed in front of other patients.

They described some of the most unprofessional incidents which amount to gross violation of the right to privacy.

Lusindiso Jack, 39, was shocked to hear a nurse telling a patient that if he continues defaulting he will die.

“They are very unprofessional, and the nurse didn’t show remorse even after she was reprimanded by other patients.

“She rudely says ‘I won’t beg you to take your medication; you are the one who is going to die but you will feel a lot of pain before dying’.”

Thandiswa Mamane’s friend went for STI medication but was insulted and embarrassed in front of other patients.

“The nurse went on about how my friend sleeps around like a teenager who doesn‘t know anything about STIs.

“They took the oath to be professional but they are doing the opposite, they are breaking human rights over and above their professional oaths. Something needs to be done quickly.” Activist Zongamele Baliso said the community might have to stage a protest.

“I got the report about the clinic, and I am planning a meeting with the management. It is said that people are suffering, with no confidentiality, and no professionalism.”

Many patients believe that clinic staff should be more professional and respectful.

“I believe it is the nurse’s right to shout at patients if they are not taking their medication, but they can do that privately.

“There are empty rooms they can use at the clinic where nurses can do one-on-one with patients who are defaulting rather than embarrassing them in front of everyone.”

Western Cape’s MCM for Community Services and Health, Patricia van der Ross, said the Health Department has a standard operating procedure to manage complaints, compliments, and suggestions at the City’s facilities.

“Patients can complain directly to the clinic manager or second in charge as they are present at the facility. It remains a priority for any office to ensure the complaints are investigated and addressed.”

Pictured above: Langa clinic in Cape Town has accused the staff members of being unprofessional and violating their right to privacy.

Image Credit: Buziwe Nocuze


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