Conflicting reports over Limpopo's meds

2013-04-24 21:15
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Polokwane - The Limpopo health department has been without medication and money for three months, MEC Norman Mabasa said on Wednesday.

He told Parliament's select committee on finance in Polokwane the situation was shocking.

"It is true that the budget for medicine was less than it was supposed to be, and we know it was less," said Mabasa.

"As far as medicines are concerned, we ran out of funds. We, therefore, could not buy medicine in December."

However, head of the intervention team Monde Tom denied this and said the province's medicine depot had medicine, but that hospitals were not ordering.

Two weeks ago patients were turned away while visiting provincial health facilities due to lack of medicine.

This included children queuing for flu shots.

Department under administration

Mabasa told the committee the problems occurred while the department was placed under administration.

"We are comforted that it happened when we were under administration. We cannot ascribe shortage of funds to looting, and siphoning of funds illicitly by officials, as there was intervention."

The committee heard the department had a high vacancy rate and was unable to attract doctors and other health professionals.

In December 2011 the Treasury took over the administration of the departments of health, education, roads and transport, public works, and the treasury.

This came after the province asked for a R1.77bn overdraft from the national Treasury.

Since then the province recorded a R2bn surplus.

Read more on:    norman mabasa  |  polokwane  |  parliament 2013  |  health

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