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Challenges for Athlone health centre upgrade

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Residents in Athlone have asked authorities to reassess the health facilities in the area.  Plans to expand the Dr Abdurahman Community Health Centre have apparently been set aside for a new health facility that has been earmarked in nearby Kewtown.

But Klipfontein Sub-District Health Forum chairperson Isgaak Kamaar said that community forums have not been advised around the matter and fears that patients will be left in the dark if they are left with no health care facility should Dr Abdurahman Community Health Centre close, while they await the completion of the new facility.

Kamaar said unlike the GF Jooste hospital,  the smaller health care facilities are not able to facilitate the influx much less provide the necessary treatments to patients.

“Dr Abdurahman was due for maintenance but there is not sufficient space for them to cater for the many people that visit the health centre and that must have been the reason for the new facility meant to be built in Kewtown,” said Kamaar.

According to Kamaar, there has been no communication with community structures and there are concerns as construction is set to commence in 2016. The new facility will cater for the needs of the people in the broader Kewtown area. But he added that people should not have to travel far as is currently the case with GF Jooste being renovated.

Provincial health department spokesperson Sithembiso Magubane said if all goes according to plan, construction should start within the next three years. The department said that the current building does not allow for the necessary changes to be made.

While a new facility is good and well, Kamaar said the implementation should be discussed with the community because they are directly affected by the changes. However Magubane said that the department is still in developing stages of whether or not they will be upgrading Dr Abdurahman centre or if the department will be building a new facility.

“The project is in its identification stage meaning that the department is still identifying the area or the place where they would decide to build, if needs be,” added Magubane.

He explains that community members will be advised as soon a feasibility study has been conducted. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)

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