Eastern Cape health workers complain about lack of staff, medical supplies

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The Eastern Cape health department continues to face staff and medical supply shortages. Worker unions have urged the department to step in and fill the vacancies.

Scores of heavily pregnant women at Motherwell Health Centre in the Eastern Cape have been left in limbo as they continue to struggle to get medical attention for their unborn babies since the labour ward has been out of commission.

Healthcare workers say the demand is overwhelming due to a lack of staff at the facility, and unions say the facility’s labour ward is on the verge of collapsing.

Unions slammed the health department for this crisis and are demanding an urgent intervention in the matter.

South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) Nomonde Fanele says, “So today we are saying we are not writing any more letters to the department so we will sit here until the department of health from a national level can intervene. This has been going on since 2018…”

Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) Vuyo Nodlawu says, “What we have called on is for them to staff us fully so that we can be able to deliver services to our people. Our people day in – day out are complaining about the poor services they receive in clinics. And the people that are filling the pressure is the people working in these clinics so it cannot be that we keep engaging them on all levels but nothing is done so we want the department to tell us when they are going to fill these vacancies.”

The health department says the process of filling vacant posts is on the cards.

Provincial Health Department spokesperson, Sizwe Kuphelo says, “So we are doing everything in our power to ensure that will fill those posts that are vacant and we are appealing to our stakeholders to please bear with us during this time as we try to resolve the problem because our biggest issue here is a budget constraint.”

The provincial government has allocated over R80 billion to the health department for the mid-term expenditure framework for the 2022/23 financial year. –Reporting by Lwando Nomoyi