Eluthandweni clinic nominated for inaugural #MyNurseHero award

Nonina Dube-Diphoko is the MD of Eluthandweni Maternity Clinic that was established by her mother Dolly Dube in 1990.

Eluthandweni Maternity Clinic situated in the heart of Vosloorus, on the East Rand, is a healthcare facility that was built on love, extreme dedication and sacrifice.

Established in 1990 by late midwife Dolly Dube at the time when the East Rand was thrusted into extreme violence that not only stopped life’s daily routines but also prevented pregnant women from seeking medical attention that they needed.

Dube, who lived in Eastfield, also worked as a night duty sister at Natalspruit Hospital and was moved to take these stranded women into her home and help them, which included child birth.

Her daughter Nonina Dube-Diphoko has since taken over her mother’s clinic following her passing in 2006 and had to forsake her career in teaching to pursue nursing.

Nonina Dube-Diphoko left teaching to take up nursing in order to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

Speaking to the publication this week, Dube-Diphoko reminisced how her mother turned her (Dube-Diphoko's) bedroom into a labour ward and her own bedroom into a postnatal care room.

“All this started when I was doing my matric, but fortunately because there were only two of us at home since my brother was at university, we had to use his room as ours,” said Dube-Diphoko, now an advanced midwife.

Her mother worked alone, only receiving support from friends from time to time. When order was restored in 1992, the community of Kathorus (Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus) wrote a petition to the local councillor saying they wanted the services to continue.

Dube had to resign from her hospital job and continue with the clinic on full time basis.

“I remember they only paid R2 for the entire services while deliveries were charged at R85 at that time. To date I don’t know how she managed...,” Dube-Diphoko said.

“And for check-ups, she would charge R50 and that would even cover a full meal,” she said laughing.

Dube-Diphoko and her staff outside Eluthandweni Maternity Clinic that was established by her mother Dolly Dube in 1990. The hospital is dedicated to giving quality healthcare to expecting mothers and their new born babies.

In 1998, Dube received funding from the Japan embassy to buy and build on the land that they currently occupy. For the first two years, she still worked alone full-time until she could get two of her former hospital colleagues to join her on this passion project.

“I think it took her three months to realise that she needed to live here permanently to be available 24/7. But that’s who she was, always putting her patients' needs before hers.”

Upon making that decision, Dube lived in her small makeshift bedroom that has a dressing table with a mirror and two side tables. It still intact to this day.

“She felt that because both her children were grown and she had no husband, her objective was then to help the nation and spend her time where she was needed the most.”

Two months before her passing, Dube encouraged her daughter to leave teaching and take up nursing. That was in May 2006.

“She started getting ill in 2004. Initially, I wanted to pursue nursing but my mother didn’t encourage it until the time she was gravely ill. She passed on in July and I got accepted into nursing in September but the clinic was kept running by the two nurses that she had started with.

She only had five staff members at that point.

“I only joined to help when I was in my third year. My mission was to continue my mother’s vision of helping the nation. I think we are doing alright,” she said.

Mantsho Mochali, 58, joined the clinic as a cleaner when she came from Lesotho looking for employment. Dube welcomed her and was the one who taught her all the skills that she has now.

“I don’t have a qualification like most nurses have but the skills that mam’Dolly imparted in me have really changed my life. She gave meaning to my life,” Mochali said.

Now Mochali is a general assistant around the clinic, a job she said she never thought she would ever have, coming from extreme poverty.

“Mam’ Dolly was an angel on earth. She taught us and her daughter what it means to care for others and what exactly this profession is about. She embodied what being a nurse meant,” she said emotionally.

It is this remarkable story that got Dube-Diphoko and Eluthandweni Maternity Clinic nominated in the inaugural #MyNurseHero campaign by Afrinurse, which aims to celebrate remarkable nurses in SA.

For more information go to: https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2022-05-12-mam-dolly-embodied-what-a-professional-nurse-is/