Free baby immunisation at private clinics a constitutional right

ACCESS to baby immunisation [in the province] has been largely successful, service delivery looks good and by all appearances public private memorandums of understanding support moms and babies in the Eastern Cape.

Unfortunately this success is jeopardised by the decision of the Department of Health (DOH) to stop providing private clinics with immunisation stock. The implications of this decision are serious and life-threatening.

This statement is not made lightly. The decision to stop makes life tough for working moms who depend on private clinics for immunisation. It also makes private immunisation unaffordable at approximately R1 800 per shot!

Not only does this mean working moms can no longer exercise their right to choose where to take their babies but it means mothers who work are placed under strain to forgo immunisation to retain their jobs (based on comments submitted to the DA by working moms) or resign so that they can wait at state clinics where service is slower than at private clinics.

The DA supports freedom of choice and fair opportunities for all our people regardless of their circumstances. We call on the department to place people and patients first and to respect constitutional rights.

To prevent an outbreak of measles in the Eastern Cape, we urge the DOH to continue to provide immunisation stock to private clinics until the department has put plans into place so that the health of our people is not compromised and service is not disrupted.

If this is not done, the responsibility for a life-threatening outbreak will land squarely on the shoulders of a department that didn’t heed the voice of the people.

Celeste Barker MPL, Shadow MEC for Health