Action for Accountability (A4A) advances accountability efforts with Health Officials at Finetown Clinic

In July 2023, the long-awaited Finetown Clinic finally opened its doors, bringing significant relief to the community after years of campaigning and waiting. Despite facing numerous obstacles and setbacks along the way, the perseverance of local community activists, notably led by Action for Accountability (A4A), a project of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and its partners, the Public Service Accountability Monitor and Accountability Lab SA, played a pivotal role. Co-funded by the European Union and the Social Justice Initiative, the project persisted in supporting the community to demand accountability from health authorities.

While the opening of the clinic marked a significant milestone, it is important for accountability efforts to continue beyond this point. As part of their commitment to maintaining accountability and ensuring quality service delivery, Action for Accountability convened a Patients’ Charter Workshop on Tuesday, 13 February, involving officials from The Gauteng Health Department, clinic management team and staff, A4A Civic Action team members, Ward 7 officials, and local community members.

The workshop aimed to engage the community on the Patients’ Right Charter which was proclaimed by the Department of Health as a common standard for achieving the realisation of the right of access to health care services as guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act No 108 of 1996).

Nonkosi Maliti, the community organiser for A4A in Finetown, emphasised the importance of all stakeholders attending the workshop, stating that: “Having all of these stakeholders present ensures that we are working together towards a common goal of accountability and improved healthcare services for our community.”

During the workshop, discussions centred on shifting the perception of accountability from a mere obligation to a collaborative endeavour. In terms of the role of community involvement, the workshop highlighted the importance of engaging residents in the monitoring process.

By engaging the community, the clinic can better address their needs and concerns, ensuring services are tailored to meet expectations.

Mr. Terrance Magoro, a District Health Chief Director within the Gauteng Department of Health, who was actively involved throughout the session, expressed his willingness to collaborate in initiatives that enable officials to work closely with the community and organisations like A4A, emphasising the benefits of such partnerships in promoting accountability.

Action for accountability (A4A) project manager, Yunus Chamda; CivActs Program Officer, Funeka Manzi; Finetown community organiser, Nonkosi Maliti; Ward 7 committee member, Trevor Goldsmith and European Union INTPA A5 Team Leader for Southern Africa, Berith Andersson at the Finetown Clinic on Tuesday

The session also featured a guided tour of Finetown clinic led by the head matron, Sister Modiehi Mogale, who is known throughout the community for her exceptional dedication to her role. The tour provided the EU representatives from the Southern African office, Berith Andersson and Musa Gwebani who were visiting various projects in the country, with insight into the collaborative efforts of the A4A Civic Action Teams in the community.

This firsthand experience showcased the commitment and passion of both clinic staff and community members in ensuring the clinic’s success and the delivery of quality healthcare services in Finetown.

The workshop concluded with a renewed commitment from community activists and the relevant officials in attendance to establish a working group that will begin drafting a services charter tailored to the Finetown Clinic. The drafting process will involve ongoing engagements with the Gauteng Department of Health, ensuring that the concerns and feedback from the community are addressed, fostering transparency and accountability in the healthcare services provided at the clinic.

While the road to accountability may be long, Action for Accountability remains dedicated to collaborating with local stakeholders and officials, including COJ Ward 7 Councillor, Lois Simonse, who has been a vocal and supportive advocate of A4A’s initiatives. Although she was unable to attend the workshop, Councillor Simonse’s ongoing support in raising awareness about residents’ rights to ongoing accountability is greatly valued. Collectively, their goal is to ensure that the voices of the community are heard, and that accountability remains a top priority in all areas of service delivery.

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