'SANDF help comes at dire time' - North West health welcomes aid

2018-04-21 15:30
Residents in Montshiwa in Mahikeng have taken to the streets demanding an end to Supra Mahumapelo’s tenure as premier of the North West (Supplied)

Residents in Montshiwa in Mahikeng have taken to the streets demanding an end to Supra Mahumapelo’s tenure as premier of the North West (Supplied)

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The North West department of health has welcomed the timely intervention of the Military Health Services wing to the province's health facilities amid violent protests, particularly around Mahikeng.

READ: SANDF to assist in North West medical crisis

The South African Military Health Service was on Saturday deployed to the North West to reinforce the medical care capacity at the Provincial Health Hospital.

This after weeks of violent protests calling for the removal of North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo that saw the 32 arrested.

"It's been weeks since the province has been experiencing unprecedented pressure on the health system due to disruptions that occurred in a number of health facilities.

"The latest community protests contributed immensely to the challenges faced by the department," said department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane in a statement on Saturday.

"The environment has since not been conducive for some of our health professionals, especially the nurses, to provide uninterrupted health services, as they feared for their lives."

'Dire need to help our people'

North West Health MEC Dr Magome Masike has since been engaged in talks with the National ministry, the SANDF and authorities in the country to avail the services of the military health services.

"First I applaud the commitment by some of our health professionals who have dedicated themselves and take their oath of service to heart to service our people in the midst of the current volatile situation. One such doctor is Dr Mothupi at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital", said MEC Masike.

"The arrival of the SANDF military health services comes at a time of dire need of their services, skills and expertise," said Masike.

"We were pushed by the dire need to help our people, to provide healthcare despite the current volatile situation.

"We know that the military health professionals have been involved in peace support operations in other African countries. Their nurses are required to provide health care to peacekeepers working in foreign countries, often in resource-poor environments. Their experience is much needed now in our province," said Masike.

'Mutual' settlement wanted

Masike said the department was still committed to finding a mutual and peaceful settlement that would satisfy all parties involved in talks, to end the current challenges and labour unrest.

"Saving the lives of our people, by providing quality health services, remains the objective of the department," said Masike.

Lekgethwane said the availability of essential drugs and medical supplies was also improving in health facilities, following a decision to allow managers to directly source medication from suppliers.

"This is over and above an earlier decision to request the National Department of Health to assist with direct deliveries to health facilities since the provincial medical depot was not accessible," said Lekgethwane.

Lekgethwane said they commended the support from the South African Association of Hospitals and Institutional Pharmacists (SAAHIP), who were planning to use their network of private hospitals to collect and distribute medical supplies.

"They have requested a list of critical items and the quantities required.  The plan for the Department is to then collect the items in a private facility per district," Lekgethwane said.

Read more on:    sandf  |  mahikeng  |  health

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