N Cape clin­ics with­out power

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - OPINION -

UN­PAID bills amount­ing to thou­sands of rand have left the Pa­bal­lelo and Strauss­burg clin­ics with­out elec­tric­ity for more than a week, not only re­sult­ing in a ma­jor in­con­ve­nience to staff at the two fa­cil­i­ties, but also rais­ing con­cerns for the health and well-be­ing of mem­bers of the pub­lic.

In a state­ment is­sued by the DA yes­ter­day, the party’s pro­vin­cial leader, An­drew Louw, called on the Depart­ment of Health (DOH) to set­tle the out­stand­ing ac­count with the Dawid Kruiper Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Uping­ton, adding that the com­bi­na­tion of warm weather con­di­tions and the cur­rent lack of re­frig­er­a­tion fa­cil­i­ties, due to the power out­ages, were not con­ducive to stor­ing med­i­ca­tion.

In re­sponse to me­dia en­quiries, the DOH said yes­ter­day that elec­tric­ity at the two fa­cil­i­ties had been re­stored.

“R140 000 worth of im­mu­ni­sa­tions have had to be stored in cool tem­per­a­tures at an al­ter­na­tive venue with elec­tric­ity,” Louw said. “This, in turn, re­sulted in the nurse hav­ing to drive up and down at her own ex­pense, lead­ing to even longer queues at the al­ready dys­func­tional clin­ics.

“Clin­ics sim­ply can­not func­tion with­out elec­tric­ity and it is un­ac­cept­able that con­sul­ta­tions and di­ag­noses must be done in the dark.

“The cur­rent con­di­tions at the clin­ics are a breed­ing ground for medico-le­gal and other health-re­lated risks,” Louw claimed.

“The health depart­ment needs to ur­gently pay its debt to en­able the nurses to de­liver proper health care ser­vices to the com­mu­ni­ties.”

Spokesper­son for the DOH, Le­bo­gang Ma­ha­jang, said that elec­tric­ity at the two fa­cil­i­ties had been re­stored as the depart­ment had pri­ori­tised mu­nic­i­pal ac­counts.

“Upon re­ceipt of the no­ti­fi­ca­tion, the MEC ac­ti­vated man­age­ment and this re­sulted in the restora­tion of elec­tric­ity at both fa­cil­i­ties,” he said.

“Maka­tong en­cour­ages health gov­er­nance struc­tures rep­re­sent­ing com­mu­ni­ties to con­tinue to re­port such in­ci­dents.

“With re­gards to mat­ters re­lat­ing to out­stand­ing debts to sup­pli­ers, the depart­ment has re­viewed the fi­nan­cial pow­ers and del­e­ga­tions al­lo­cated to dis­trict health man­agers to en­sure com­pli­ance of a 30 days’ pay­ment.”

– Mur­ray Swart

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