Outcry over shortage of malaria testing kits in hard-hit Mpumalanga

2017-05-29 13:11

Bushbuckridge – Delays in delivery of malaria testing kits, and staff shortages in Mpumalanga, have sparked a widespread outcry from the communities where the disease is rapidly spreading.

The SABC reported on Saturday that at least 14 people had died from a malaria outbreak in the province.

Over 1 000 cases have been reported in the province and the health department has begun a campaign to fumigate homes and river banks in an attempt to control it.

According to the SABC, Bushbuckridge recorded the highest number of cases, with 600 of 1 300 cases reported in the province.

On Friday, angry members of the Bushbuckridge Residents Association (BRA) led a march to hand over a memorandum at the Tintswalo Hospital.

Delays in delivery of malaria testing kits and staff shortages in Bushbuckridge have sparked widespread outcry. (Photo: Yvonne Silaule)

The memorandum read: "We are terrified of the great chance of death exposed to us due to the malaria pandemic. The hospital is jam packed with admitted patients, largely over malaria."

'This is absurd'

BRA leader Delta Mokoena said the community of Acornhoek needed saving from the MEC of the Mpumalanga Department of Health, Gillion Mashego.

"Gillion Mashego came and alerted people about malaria in a rush three weeks ago and prompted people to come for immediate check-up.

"When people responded and showed up in the hospital for such check-ups, they were sent back home in large numbers, with nurses telling them that they have not received any medical test kit, a challenge faced by the entire province.

This is absurd and does not sit well with me at all," said Mokoena.

Mpumalanga Department of Health spokesperson Dumisani Malamule confirmed the shortage of doctors at Tintswalo Hospital, but also acknowledged that the problem affected the entire province.

"We are currently doing assessment[s] in all the provincial hospitals to check the need of staff, especially doctors. We are clearly aware of the pressure, but Tintswalo Hospital is no exception. We have given the CEO of the hospital time to employ three doctors, specifically at Tintswalo Hospital," he said.

Malamule said the shortage of testing kits was resolved on Friday.

"We are sorry for the delay of medical kit, but some parts have already been delivered. We are working overtime to ensure that all hospitals and clinics, especially in Bushbuckridge, are secure with medical kit for the sake of eliminating malaria," said Malamule.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  malaria  |  health

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