Some elderly Eastern Cape residents have never seen an ambulance - SAHRC

2015-10-01 21:24
Ambulance photo from Shutterstock

Ambulance photo from Shutterstock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The Eastern Cape health department's inability to provide emergency services to rural communities means that elderly people in some communities having never seen an ambulance, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Thursday.

"We heard the fact there were elderly people who had never seen an ambulance in their entire lives, despite having experienced great emergency situations," said deputy chairperson, Pregs Govender.

"The apartheid geography determines the entrenchment of that poverty and inequality. The fragmented health care system in the Eastern Cape is particularly pronounced in the former Transkei and Ciskei areas."

She was addressing media in Johannesburg on the findings of the SAHRC's report into the provision of emergency medical services in the Eastern Cape.

The SAHRC held a hearing in East London in March at which attendees spoke on how their rights had been detrimentally affected by poor emergency health care service delivery.

Disrespect for elderly

"We heard also about the disrespect that people received when they called the call centres. Some of them spoke about being told disparagingly to go use their child care grant [R330 a month] and their old age grant [R1 041 a month]," Govender said.

"In the context of huge unemployment, those grants are used to support often entire extended families."

People spoke of the indignity and pain of being transported in wheelbarrows, ambulances arriving late or not at all, and community health workers not being adequately trained resulting in complications and deaths during childbirth.

Further, the "terrible state of rural roads" made it impossible for ordinary ambulances to get to many villages.

"What we saw, that people were speaking not just for themselves as individuals, they were actually speaking for larger numbers of people across whole parts of our country and which reinforce apartheid patterns of inequality and discrimination," Govender said.

While the Eastern Cape was the particular focus of this report, Govender said these type of problems were not isolated and existed elsewhere across the country.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  port elizabeth  |  healthcare

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.