Limpopo suspends NGO services over health worker non-payment outcry

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Limpopo Health has suspended the services of at least 300 NGOs after an outcry over the non-payment of home-based care workers who were in the organisations’ employ, reports News24.

At the end of the 2017/18 financial year, the department decided to take over the administration of home-based care workers and other health-related services. The NGOs’ services were terminated at the end of March. They had been given eight months notice.

The report says some former home-based care workers welcomed the move and said they had been “enslaved” and “robbed” by some of the organisations’ managers, who failed to pay them for months.

At least five home-based care workers employed by different organisations said that some months they only received half of their standard monthly stipend. Furious employees, who asked to remain anonymous, are quoted in the report as saying that the pattern began in September last year.

Department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana confirmed that they had received complaints about the non-payment of some organisations’ workers. He said the department’s had to ensure that the interests of those workers were not compromised.

He said the role they played, which included bathing chronic patients at home and making sure that patients adhered to their medication, was crucial in the primary health care sector. “If those people are not taken care of… we are likely going to see a lot of default in medication adherence. Patients will die because they had no one to take care of them,” Shikwambana said.

He added that bringing the workers under the department’s administration would also help reduce long queues at clinics and health care centres. “Our interest as the department is that they continue to do the work with no exploitation,” he added.

News24 report

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