DA promises porridge probe

2010-05-27 00:00

KZN Democratic Alliance (DA) is set to launch a probe into allegations that the provincial Health Department has failed to provide Aids and TB patients with nutritional porridge supplement for the past five months.

The porridge is said to be essential to the successful treatment of those with HIV/Aids.

DA health spokesperson John Steenhuisen said he will submit parliamentary questions to Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo seeking explanation on the inadequate distribution of the porridge.

“Health Department spokesperson Chris Maxon initially denied responsibility for the inadequate distribution of the porridge, blaming the national Treasury instead.

“Mr Maxon’s persistent denials over every health problems are increasingly tiresome.

“We don’t really care who is responsible — we just want problems addressed,” said Steenhuisen in a statement.

He said the “tit-for-tat game” played by the Health and National Treasury departments is not assisting the poor in the fight against Aids and TB and vowed to get to the bottom of the issue.

Recently it has been reported that more than 100 000 HIV/Aids patients have been denied access to the immune-boosting porridge since December last year, after the department cancelled its contract with the supplier and handed the programme over to the National Treasury.

Last week a staff member at Edendale Hospital said the department had stopped supplying the porridge to the hospital, while Northdale said they still had the supply.

Maxon told The Witness yesterday that the contract with suppliers lapsed in January.

He said the stock levels at the time were sufficient to provide for patients until the new contract with suppliers administered by the National Treasury, came into effect in May 15.

“Our supply chain unit is placing orders with the newly-appointed service provider and the stock will be delivered to institutions soon.

“The supplier will confirm delivery by end of business today,” said Maxon yesterday.

National Treasury spokesperson Lindani Mbunyuza said the programme is not managed by his department.

“The management of the programme … is the responsibility of the provincial Health departments,” said Mbunyuza.

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