The incompetence of the Eastern Cape Health administration has reached criminal levels. Corpses share drawers and cleaning staff have to buy their own mops and rags.

The report by the Portfolio Committee for Health, tabled in the Legislature last week (subs: Thurs, 8 Oct) reads like a horror. This follows visits by the committee to eight hospitals, in the Port St. John’s-, Flagstaff-, Tsolo-, Mqanduli- Lusikisiki-, Ntabankulu-, Qumbu- and Libode areas of the former Transkei.

Some examples:
At the Zithuele Hospital at Mqanduli, corpses share drawers, cleaning staff buy their own mops and rags, doctors bought a patient transport vehicle out of their own salaries, the pharmacist uses her own car to go and fetch medicines to stockpile the medical depot and only half of the posts are filled.

  • At the Holy Cross Hospital at Flagstaff only 111 of 180 beds are usable.
  • The Isilimela Hospital near Port St. John’s has 141 vacant posts. That is 65 per cent of the total staff compliment. The X-ray machine is broken. The ARV clinic is not accredited. There are no cutlery or crockery for patients and no medical support during weekends due to a shortage of staff.
  • At the Bambisa Hospital at Lusikisiki the staff vacancy rate is 46 per cent and at the St. Barnabas Hospital at Libode, the health department has only succeeded in filling 327 of 780 vacant medical and non-medical posts.
  • After 15 years of democracy and ANC governance, one would expect some indication of service delivery. Instead, they have been were driven into the ground by an extremely incompetent Eastern Cape Department of Health.
  • All these hospitals have the potential to serve their communities — if they have equipment, staff and medicine. They need to be properly maintained, vacant posts need to be filled proper management put in place to ensure there is adequate stocks of medicine and supplies.

    Politicians and administrators are still blaming the legacies of the past while they themselves are responsible for the serious deterioration of hospital services in the former Transkei. This not only leads to more suffering, but also to deaths for which our department of health should be held accountable.

    For further information, please contact Pine Pienaar, MPL on 082 446 1888

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