STEENBOKPAN — The family of 13 year old Tshotlego Lenney Ntau says they point fingers at Ellisras Hospital for the untimely death of their daughter. According to her distraught father, Hloriso Ntau, Lenney became ill while attending class at Lerekhureng School in Steenbokpan on Tuesday 22 March. They called an ambulance which never arrived. After that, the child was apparently given medicine at a local clinic.
Lenney’s parents, through their employer, took her to a doctor on 24 March, who referred her to Ellisras Hospital for further assessment as she complained about stomach cramps. Ntau says Lenney previously only complained about her tonsils.
They reportedly arrived at Ellisras Hospital on 24 March around 10:00 but they were only helped after 17:00.
“When we told the doctor that we had a prescription letter with us for Lenney, we were told everyone in the queue had come with a prescription. To make matters worse, when the doctor saw her he only gave her an injection without inspecting her tummy. This was not what the prescription letter from the private doctor was saying” said Ntau.
During this time the staff of Ellisras Hospital were protesting and no proper services were offered.
Ntau says the family went back to Steenbokpan in the hope that Lenney would get better after the injection, but she fell ill again the next morning around 08:00 whilst at school. She complained about stomach cramps and started to vomit.
She was rushed to the local clinic again and after efforts to get the ambulance did not materialise yet again, the family arranged transport to get Lenney to a doctor.
Lenney passed away while being transported from Steenbokpan to town on 30 March. Though post mortem results determined Lenney died of natural causes, her father is not convinced. He says to date they are still wondering what actually killed their daughter whose tummy had apparently grown bigger before her death.
Lenney’s body was buried on 8 April and her family has not yet formally reported their grievance to Ellisras Hospital management or the health department.
The Limpopo Health Department Spokesperson Derick Kganyago says if the Ntau family feels aggrieved they can write an official letter to the MEC’s office, which will later be forwarded to Medico-Legal Unit, which deals with grievances.
To the community Kganyago says whenever there is a march at any health centre, services will be affected. “Though we are aware that most community members are not financially strong enough to be able to move from one health centre to another, patients are likely to be treated badly if they do go to centres when marches are taking place” he says.
On Steenbokpan getting its own complete clinic, Kganyago says the area started as an informal settlement.
“One of the core factors contributing to any community having a clinic is the number of people living in it. Steenbokpan population doesn’t reach the threshold of
10 000 people.
With a population of roughly 2 000, we have a post clinic in a rented space from the municipality. This is not a fully-fledged clinic but it provides primary health care services with only two nurses and medicine” said Kganyago.
The health department has no plans to have a clinic in the area due to the size of the population, however more nurses will be added if the numbers of the community increases.