EC Hospital generator breakdown places lives at risk

Issued by Jane Cowley, MPL
Shadow MEC for Health

The generator at the B. J. Vorster Hospital in Kareedouw malfunctioned at the start of the year, endangering patients’ lives whenever loadshedding is implemented. Three weeks have passed, but it has still not been repaired.

To make matters worse, ESKOM says the hospital cannot be exempted from loadshedding!

Nurses are now forced to bring torches with them to work, while critical life-saving procedures must be scheduled according to the latest loadshedding schedules.

How is it acceptable that babies are being delivered by torchlight?

To make matters worse, in the TsitsiKouga district, clinics have not had a single visit from a doctor since September last year.

Clinic patients on chronic medication have not received updated prescriptions for their medication, as only qualified doctors may perform this duty. As a result, many sick and elderly patients have defaulted on their chronic medication, as they simply cannot afford to travel to Humansdorp or Kareedouw to see a doctor.

The situation is dire and will undoubtedly result in mortalities.

I have sent a parliamentary question to Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth, to enquire as to why the broken generator has not yet been attended to, and why clinics in the Tsitsikouga district have not had access to a doctor for six months.

I will also write to the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Paahla, to request that he ensure that all hospitals, including BJ Vorster Hospital, are exempted from loadshedding as per his communication late last year.

In the DA-led Western Cape, broken generators are replaced in a matter of hours, not weeks or months. Clinics, both urban and rural, have regular access to doctors so that treatment of chronic illnesses is never disrupted.

This is because where the DA governs, services are delivered, and all citizens are catered for, regardless of where they live.