Limpopo community fights to keep HIV/Aids healthcare centre open

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The community of Moutse in Limpopo has written to the Health Ombudsman and the Human Rights Commission to ask them to intervene in a bid to halt the planned closure of an HIV/Aids healthcare centre by the provincial government, reports The Times.

The Ndlovu Care Centre‚ which was established by an NGO‚ Ndlovu Care Group‚ has been servicing more than 3‚500 patients for over two decades‚ providing them with ARV and TB treatment‚ and has for all these years been subsidised by the Limpopo government. But in her recent budget allocation‚ the MEC for Health‚ Phophi Ramathuba‚ announced that the province would no longer subsidise the centre. The department wants the patients to receive their medication at governmental hospitals‚ something that the community is against.

“The difficulty now arises where patients have to travel more than 15 kilometres to get their medication‚ lose privacy and confidentiality and may even get to the hospital to be told that they have no medicine and or medical equipment to treat the patients.

“The reasons being dished up as sufficient reasons to stop the subsidy holds no water and at the end of the day the ones that are suffering are the patients that have a constitutional right to being treated medically and in the strictest of confidence‚” said Seun Mogotji‚ Moutse community leader.

Meanwhile‚ the report says, the Limpopo Health Department is confident the process will run smoothly. “We have enough capacity to handle the extra patients who will be transferred from Ndlovu Care Group. What needs to be understood is that decanting is not an event but a process which will consider a number of things and central to those is that as the process unfolds it should not affect the wellbeing of patients‚” said Neil Shikwambana‚ Limpopo health spokesperson.

He said the department was decanting the patients as part of cost-cutting measures. “We believe that through this exercise‚ the millions of rand that we are spending on Ndlovu Care Group can be redirected towards infrastructure‚ equipment and staffing at public health care facilities in the area‚” Shikwambana added.

The Times report

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