Thursday, 30 May, 2024
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Health bosses must abide by free treatment order

Health departments countrywide have been issued with a circular by the national department ordering that free healthcare services be given to pregnant women and children under six, regardless of their nationality or status in South Africa.

This follows the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) last month directing the Gauteng Department of Health to amend its policy that had required all foreign nationals to pay for health services, reports TimesLIVE.

The order followed an application by SECTION27 on behalf of three migrant women who had been denied access to healthcare unless they paid an upfront fee. Last month, Judge Roland Sutherland gave the Gauteng Health Department until 16 October to amend its policy guidelines on patient administration and revenue management, to align with the National Health Act.

The court found the department’s regulations and policy – implemented in 2020 and which limits free healthcare services to pregnant/breastfeeding women and young children who are asylum seekers, undocumented or stateless – unconstitutional.

A volunteer doctor who works at four clinics in Gauteng said she had seen women and children being turned away from clinics or transferred because they were either foreigners or lacked the proper documents.

“There was a young boy, under six, who couldn’t get admitted because his father didn’t have the proper documents. It’s a matter of luck if you do end up getting help in their situation.”


TimesLIVE article – Free health services for pregnant foreign nationals in Gauteng (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Gauteng clinics still denying treatment for pregnant migrants


Clinic turns away pregnant Zimbabwean teenager


Landmark ruling confirms free healthcare right for all pregnant women, children






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