HEALTH: A year in review

2016-01-04 10:42
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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

Pietermaritzburg - From nationwide medication shortages, and rampant backyard abortion clinics in full operation across the city, in 2015 the health sector had its fair share of scandal. In May, The Witness first revealed to KwaZulu-Natal that there was a provincial sh

The shortage was originally thought to have been restricted to ARVs such as Abacivir, and Alluvier. However, it was later revealed that the shortage extended to basic pain killers, iron tablets, and allegations of shortages of morphine.

Pietermaritzburg residents soon came forward to share their stories. A Northdale resident, who would not be named, said in July her epileptic son was having to go without his medication due to the shortages. She said this had resulted in a severe decline in his health, and the constant worry that he would fall in the bathroom or bedroom in an epileptic fit and harm himself.

Another Pietermaritzburg resident said that he had been without the aid of state clinics and had to begin buying his ant-depressants from a private clinic, which cost him a large portion of his meagre pension.

In July, it was confirmed by SA Medical Association senior official Dr Mark Sonderup that not only was the country suffering backlogs in ARVs and basic medication — there was also a nationwide shortage of penicillin caused by an international shortage of penicillin.

Sonderup said at the time that although penicillin may seem a small concern to some, the gravity of the shortage was worse than the nation could imagine. With a shortage in penicillin, comes the rise in number of people affected by super bugs.

Super bugs arise when penicillin is used to treat an illness that is not necessarily treated with penicillin, such as flu.

With people being prescribed penicillin incorrectly and not finishing their courses of antibiotics, this leaves the body’s natural immunity to some bacteria weak, and that is when strains of super bugs, almost impossible to rid the body of, arise.

KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said at the time that there was a national plan in motion to address the medication shortages, and in the weeks that followed, the plan had garnered positive results.

Shortly after the dust had settled on the medication shortage, The Witness went on an undercover investigation into the dingy underworld of illegal backyard abortions. Two reporters posing as a couple went to meet an illegal abortionist, under the pretence of buying abortion pills to abort a four-week pregnancy. Parked in a parking lot of a local shopping centre, a man, known only as “Doctor” approached the “couple” and offered the pills for R600.

Although it is common knowledge among health practitioners and most of the public that the backyard abortions are life-threatening, Doctor assured the couple that the pills were “completely safe” to use. Following the investigation by The Witness in June, a ferocious campaign against these illegal clinics was launched in November by the KZN Health Department.

The campaign has been launched across KZN, and has shown a steady rise in the number of women using legal clinics instead of approaching illegal clinics, although this is an uphill battle.

The whereabouts of “Doctor” are unclear and it is unknown if he is still operating as an illegal abortionist after the video of him went viral on The Witness YouTube channel.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  health

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.