Eastern Cape health care – call for drastic action

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The Eastern Cape Health Crisis Action Coalition will approach the premier to intervene in its call for drastic action to improve the province's health care system, it announced on Monday.

"We are going to approach the Premier [Noxolo Kievit] and hand to her the memo that we gave the [health] MEC [Sicelo Gqobana] which he still has not responded to," spokesman Kwazi Mbatha said.

The coalition tabled and presented a memorandum of grievances to Gqobana's office and gave him 30 days to respond. That was during a march held on September 13.

"The deadline passed on Friday already and we still have not received word from his office if that will happen," Mbatha said.

He said the coalition's way forward would include presenting the same memorandum to provincial leaders of the African National Congress and Parliament's portfolio committee on health.

"If this call for intervention from the [above-mentioned] structures proves futile, [we] would consider litigation, but only as the last resort," Mbatha said.

Drastic action needed

However, Gqobana has agreed to meet the coalition next month on other matters related to health care improvement.

"We have a meeting with him in November, on the 22nd. It is far away."

The province's health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo was not immediately available for comment.

The coalition, which includes Section 27 and the Treatment Action Campaign, has advocated for drastic action to rebuild the province's health care system.

It compiled a report titled "Death and Dying. An Investigation into the Collapse of a Healthcare System", which sparked an investigation by the national health department.

Last month, minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced findings and recommendations from the probe, which included plans for millions of rand in infrastructural development.

The suspensions of the Holy Cross Hospital CEO and its nursing manager were also announced.

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