SAHRC Mpuma health concern no surprise: DA

By Drum Digital
22 December 2013

It was no surprise that the SA Human Rights Commission's (SAHRC) found that hospitals in Mpumalanga were in a critical state, the DA said on Sunday.

The Democratic Alliance had, for many years, warned that continued mismanagement, maladministration, centralised procurement and poor leadership would cause the complete collapse of public health care in the province, said the party's provincial leader James Masango.

"Furthermore, premier David Mabuza's continued refusal to take decisive action against failing MECs and HODs makes it clear that health care delivery takes second place behind political patronage," Masango said in a statement.

He said the DA had scored a victory for the more than three million people in the province by asking the SAHRC to investigate.

On Saturday, the SAHRC gave the Mpumalanga health department until March 31 to formulate and submit a detailed programme of action to address the critical skills, infrastructure and administrative problems in hospitals and clinics in the province.

Masango said on Sunday that the DA would check whether the department met the deadline.

"The SAHRC found that several hospitals in Mpumalanga are in a critical state resulting in the violation of the public's right to access health care services," spokesperson Isaac Mangena said in a statement.

"The latest findings in Mpumalanga are reflective of systemic challenges across the public health care sector that require urgent intervention."

The SAHRC said its investigation followed a complaint that the provincial health department was failing in its duty to provide adequate health care services to communities.

Mangena said the investigation covered a sample of the three main hospitals in the province, the Rob Ferreira, Matibidi and Bernice Samuel hospitals.

Its main finding was that the situation in the hospitals affected the government's ability to "discharge its constitutional obligation to provide health services to members of the public".

In 2008, the SAHRC released a report on a nation-wide investigation into health care services in the country.

Mangena said it believed that, had the government responded in proactive way, its finding in Mpumalanga would have been different.

In 2008, the commission found a wide range of systemic, nation-wide shortcomings.

It recommended conducting skills audits of senior management, and implementing interventions such as training and awareness campaigns to capacitate senior staff; installing infrastructure; and provide funding, particularly in rural areas. - Sapa

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