Heath Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the ailing health care system in the Eastern Cape is a result of poor management.
He was speaking during his visit to Ntabankulu as part of the Thuma Mina campaign. This focuses on gang violence, political killings and service delivery issues.
In recent weeks, the Eastern Cape health sector has been plagued by issues such as staff shortages, water shortages and malfunctioning equipment.
Motsoaledi began his visit by helping clean the streets in the small town. Community members and ANC volunteers joined him.
He then visited the nearby Ntabankulu Clinic where he checked conditions in various wards.
A 72-year-old grandmother, Nonzwakazi Ndamase, went to the clinic specifically in the hope of seeing the minister. She says she nearly died after she was refused help at the healthcare centre.
Patients also complained about a lack of medication at the clinic. One of them is 82-year-old Luhayi Zweni who came to fetch medication for his diabetic wife.
But for three consecutive months, he says he had to pay about R500 at the pharmacy due to a lack of medication at the clinic.
“There are no medicines in our clinics. I usually come to fetch medication for my wife, but there are no needles and no pills. Government needs to help us by sending medicines to hospitals. Now, I must go and buy medication from the pharmacy because I’ve been told that the medication has been finished.”
Minister Motsoaledi says the Health Department has dispatched a 200-member task team to look into the challenges faced by health centres in the province.
“It is highly distressed, but I think its problems of management. As you can see, there’s no permanent manager here. You can’t run this type of clinic, which is so congested, which needs to be enlarged and you also don’t have a manager.”
“Obviously, it will get into a crisis. I found what I expected really, because this is one of the clinics that is under a project to turn it into an ideal clinic.”
Motsoaledi said the Ntabankulu Clinic will be revamped. He says the task team will also address the problems of staff shortages, resources and infrastructure.
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