What some may view as a quaint rural scene is far from idyllic for patients at Maitengwe village clinic who are forced to sit under a mophane tree as they wait for attention.
Seated on a log that serves as a makeshift bench, the patients have complained that the area designated for TB sufferers stigmatises them.
“Imagine what we have to go through on a daily basis. You sit in this isolated area, often for hours, with everyone looking at you.
I know quite a number of patients who stopped coming for medication because of this arrangement,” one middle-aged patient said on Wednesday.
A relative to one of the patients, Nshangano Keaba, 30, said there was an urgent need for better facilities at the clinic which he said had long been neglected.
He added that the way visitors looked at the TB patients waiting under the tree was embarrassing.
“They look at them as if they are on death row and it may be the reason why some end up quitting their medication,” he said.
Commenting on the situation Tutume District Health Management Team Head Dr Kanayi Ntumba said he was not aware of the arrangement, and apologised for the discomfort patients had to endure.
“I will turn that place (the tree) into a resting place for all, and while waiting for a proper structure for TB patients I will advice nurses to give them priority and serve them on arrival so that they don’t have to wait,” he promised.