Cancer patients in the Northern Cape requiring mammography services can only be assisted in Kimberley. They are all being referred to the Robert Sobukwe Hospital.
The provincial department of health has confirmed that it’s facing challenges.
The section that was meant to provide mammography services at the Dr Surtie Hospital has now turned into an office.
The hospital was opened five years ago. Although it was touted as a state of the art facility during the launch, it doesn’t have a mammogram machine.
There are lengthy waits before patients can get an appointment.
People also have to travel long distances to attain health services.
Cansa Coordinator Netta Smit says:”They cannot go immediately for a mammogram; it takes sometimes weeks before they can go to Kimberley. It’s not good for them; it’s really bad.”
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Andre Louw says:”I would urge the MEC responsible for health, as a matter of urgency and seriousness to make sure that we do get a mammogram in order for the people to be assisted at their home.”
A lack of skills led to the hospital’s inability to provide mammography services.
Provincial medical director Dr Deon Tys says:”Two years ago, we were about to procure the mammogram machine and the skills base was not enough to run or service the machine. So we’re on the verge of procuring again because we’ve built critical skills.”
Although the department has indicated they will soon provide the services, they have yet to set a deadline.