I thank God that i am never sick and i thank Him again that my daughter is never sick too. I do not remember when was the last time i visited a doctor because i am sick or she is sick, i am forever thankful for this.
Visiting a public clinic yesterday (because of my daughters vaccine) showed me that being ill in South Africa when you can not afford private doctors or private clinics is like hell. First of all you have to wake up before dawn if you want to see yourself in front of the line and come back home in time, the queues are too long. Secondly other public clinics literally open doors at 7:30am, this mean you queue and wait for 7:30am outside the clinic, in the cold, and remember you are sick.
So i woke up at 5:30am yesterday, by 6:30am me and my daughter where in a queue outside the Sammy Marks Municipal Clinic
, can you imagine the cold around that time?. Well at least we were dressed warm, in track pants (with tights underneath), warm jackets, scarfs, hats and gloves. They was already 40 (estimated) people in the queue and we joined. As i scan the people standing in front of me i see some women (about 15 of them) with kids, way young kids – newborn and toddlers in their backs and arms, it just broke my heart thinking what time the women must have got to the clinic.
At 7:45 they opened the doors and started to allow us in, the queue moved slow because one of the staff member had to ask each person what they have come to do and also put the people into two groups – people who have appointments one side and people without appointments one side. We eventually sat down at 8:20am. After everyone finally sat down (others had to stand because benches were full), the same staff member came forward to give an opening speech, which included welcoming us, telling us about who they are as a clinic, advised and recommended that we take the flu vaccine since winter is close, then the Bomb, Boom! “do you see the people sitting on the other side? (I looked at them, they are about 50 people) those are the people who have appointments with us, the rest of you sitting there (pointing at us) you do not have appointments with us. Please know that we will help each and everyone of the people with appointment first, only then will we come to the rest of you who do not have appointments, it is not my business if you came at 4am and you were first in the queue!, i do not need anyone to come complain that they have been sitting for too long “ – just to clarify people with appointments are people who came to the clinic previously and were given yesterday’s date to return for follow up.
I turned red! I was upset, after waking up so early and standing in the cold outside!. Now i am number 71 (adding the 50 with appointments and the 20 without appointments who are in front of me). It is so unfair, so unfair! i just stood up and told Faith “let’s go my baby, this is going to take the whole day!” i do not even think we were going to be attended because the clinic close at 4pm, we were probably going to be told to come back the next day – after sitting the whole day on those benches. So now imagine if we had gone because i was sick or my daughter was, how was i going to handle all of that? i really felt pain for the people who were really in pain, who woke up early in the morning with the hope to be assisted fast so they can go back home in time.
It is truly sad! It pains me!