Covid-19: 75 SANDF doctors, nurses deployed to assist Eastern Cape hospitals

A nurse checks a Covid-19 patient's ventilator.
A nurse checks a Covid-19 patient's ventilator.
Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images
  • The 75 doctors and nurses were deployed to the province by President Cyril Rampahosa to help at struggling hospitals.
  • This comes after Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane admitted that the province's healthcare system was overwhelmed.
  • The embattled hospitals have been in the news for various reasons including critical shortage of equipment and understaffing.

The Eastern Cape's most overwhelmed hospitals, beset by a critical shortage of equipment, understaffing and a high number of Covid-19 infections, will be assisted by a military medical team of 75 doctors and nurses deployed to the province.

The troubled hospitals set to receive the much needed relief are Dora Nginza, Livingstone, both in Port Elizabeth, Frere in East London, Nelson Mandela Academic in Mthatha, Frontier hospital in Komani and Tower Psychiatric hospital in Fort Beaufort.

The announcement was made by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane on Tuesday during one of his weekly Covid-19 press briefings. 

READ | Eastern Cape postpones return of Grades R, 6 and 11 as Covid-19 cases rise

"We believe that with their arrival; we will see a surge in the number of people who are recovering from the virus as they stood at 22 022 yesterday [Monday]. Our hope to defeat this virus is rejuvenated every day by the valiant fightback of people who continue to recover against this virus in their homes, isolation facilities and in our hospitals.

"We want to thank our health workers for their continued dedication and care for Covid-19 patients," Mabuyane further said.


The province has 38 081 people infected by the virus and 528 deaths, with 19 490 recoveries as of Monday.

The medical team, which included 20 medical specialists, arrived in the province on Sunday.

They arrived days after Mabuyane made a public admission about the overwhelmed health systems of the province and asked President Cyril Ramaphosa for the help of the military health services team.

READ | Five nuns in the Eastern Cape buried after dying of Covid-19

The struggling hospitals had been faced with staff protests or go-slows due to a high number of infections among staff, as well as a critical shortage of personal protective equipment.

The facilities are situated in four hotspots of the province - Nelson Mandela Metro, Buffalo City Metro, OR Tambo District and Chris Hani District. Nelson Mandela Bay with 10 442 infections is followed by Buffalo City Metro, which has 9 095 infections.

City Press reported that doctors and healthcare workers claimed the Eastern Cape healthcare system has collapsed, with patients allegedly lying in corridors at some hospitals.

Dora Nginza maternity ward was nearing collapse, Daily Maverick reported. News24 reported about high Covid-19 infections among patients at Tower hospital.

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