Medication and staff shortages in Limpopo — SAHRC

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Health services in Limpopo are undermined by both medication and staff shortages. Health-e News reports that this is according to SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) chair advocate Bongani Majola who was in the province to assess the state of public health facilities.

“What informs the visit is generally the poor state of health services reported in many parts of the country, including this province,” Majola says. “It warrants the commission (because)… service delivery with regard to health care is not where the Constitution expects it to be.” He says commission will be meeting with provincial government to deal with issues at a policy level to find out what will be done to address these urgent challenges.

According to the report, Majola says he is disappointed with what he’s seen thus far, such as rotting food in Messina Hospital, and a high vacancy rate of 54%. “We are not pleased with the findings, we were not pleased even before we came here because of the report we got from our own offices and the media.”

The situation, he is quoted in the report as saying, is not ideal. “The 54% vacancy rate impacts services negatively because (those) who use public health care services don’t get such services. One person cannot do everything.”

“One practical example is what we witnessed (at the Messina Hospital) kitchen – it was dirty, and some food was expired. We also found rotten fruits. The (person who works there) said, ‘But I’m alone here, I cannot do all these things.’ If you (have) the full staff complement, it would have been a different story,” Majola says.

He says these problems aren’t unique to Messina Hospital. “We have visited other facilities and we have found that the main problem is with human resources. This is why we like to go around to all provinces and discuss (these matters) with provincial authorities.”

Limpopo Health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said in the report that the department is unable to comment till the SAHRC’s official report is released. “We haven’t received any report of that nature from the SAHRC so we can’t comment on rumours. As far as we know, everything is well at the hospital and we will respond fully when the commission releases its findings.”

Health-e News report

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