ANC protection of Mpumalanga Health MEC ‘puts children at risk’

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The ANC in Mpumalanga has been accused of doing anything to protect its ‘failing’ health MEC, including putting the lives of thousands of children at risk.

City Press reports that the ANC in the province dismissed the health minister’s call for an investigation into the vaccination programme following a measles outbreak.

During a sitting of the provincial legislature, the ANC voted against a motion calling on provincial health MEC, Gillion Mashego, and his department to implement any and all recommendations by the minister once the investigation was completed.

The report says according to the recent South African democratic survey, one in 10 of Mpumalanga’s children under the age of two had not receive any immunisation as required by the health department. The survey found that 53% of South African children aged between 12 and 23 months had not received all vaccinations at the appropriate age and the immunisation gaps were the worst in Mpumalanga.

A Mpumalanga resident, Sophie Kabinde clarified in the report that usually vaccinations can be received at the government clinics for free of charge. However, she said Mpumalanga residents were struggling to receive appropriate medical assistance due to lack of staff at the facilities. The report says when the Mpumalanga Health MEC’s office was called for comment, Josephine Beharrie said that the MEC was attending a legislature sitting which she was unsure of the time that it would be finished.

According to Dr Nkosi from KwaMhlanga hospital in Mpumalanga, failure to receive appropriate immunisation for this outbreak disease may endanger the children’s heath. Not having vaccinations in their systems put them at risk of having full-blown measles.
“Vaccinations are for diseases that cannot be treated therefore, your child might die if no vaccination has been administered,’’ Nkosi said.

The DA spokesperson for health, Jane Sithole, said her party perceived this action by the ANC as a demonstration that it would do anything to protect failing health MEC, Gillion Mashego, even if it meant sacrificing the province’s children. “We will not let the ANC drag the whole province down with their MEC, Mashego. who is clearly unable to turn around the health department,” she said.

City Press report

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