Health Dept mum over inferior services

2014-07-03 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health remains mum about the death of nine-year-old Nosisa Mncwabe, who died while waiting for an ambulance at Taylor’s Halt clinic in Pietermaritzburg last month.

Bonny Godfrey, the employer of Nosisa’s mother, wrote a letter about the incident to Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo more than three weeks ago, but no response has been received. Her husband, Martin Godfrey, also wrote to The Witness about not getting a response from the department.

Yesterday, the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) protested with Nosisa’s parents at Durban’s Addington Hospital. They were protesting against the perceived general mismanagement of public health resources, the treatment of state cancer patients at Addington, and the failures of the emergency services sector that led to patients’ deaths.

Trade union Hospersa’s national spokesperson Michelle Connolly said they demand that Dhlomo’s office set up a meeting with them to discuss the full facts surrounding the Addington radiotherapy debacle. “This includes what led to the initial switch-off of the Rapid Arc machines for a period of five months last year, as well as the current problems where only one machine has been operational for many months — and, at times, both machines have not been operational,” said Connolly.

In a memorandum handed to the department, Hospersa demanded that a task team be set up to investigate various glaring failures by the department.

Hospersa also highlighted Nosisa’s death as one of the failures of the emergency services sector.

They demanded that the department put its financial administration in order, by fully using its budgetary allocation for the betterment of health services and facilities for all South Africans.

• Meanwhile, another family have lost a child while waiting for hours for an ambulance to arrive in Pietermaritzburg recently. Langelihle Ndwandwe (15) was in labour pain on the night of May 17 when she called for an ambulance. Having waited in vain for one to arrive, the Sweetwaters resident sought assistance from neighbours, but no one could transport her to hospital.

“We phoned at 7.30 at night. I was in pain at the time. I waited for the ambulance until I gave birth to twins. One died after birth and the other one survived. The ambulance only arrived at 12 am and it was too late to save my child. I believe that if they were on time, both my children would be alive,” said Ndwandwe.

She said the joy of giving birth to twins was cut short when she was told that one child had died.

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