Diarrhea deaths tragic

Karen Kock, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Spokesperson for Health

It is tragic that five children have died as a result of the diarrhea outbreak in Upington. The DA sympathizes with all affected families.

We are pleased that the World Health Organisation is helping the department establish the cause of the outbreak and we hope that the cause is speedily identified.

The hospital and overflowing clinics show that the provincial department is not properly geared towards dealing with outbreaks. This is, however, expected because of the shortages of medical personnel across the province. We have fewer doctors in the Northern Cape now than we had in 2003. Our number of nurses is also declining. One of the most cited reasons for doctors leaving the public health system is poor facility management and lack of equipment to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Together, this has a compounding effect on the number of patients that doctors can see. Outreach programmes also suffer as a result. This once again shows us just how important it is for the department to take active steps to recruit skilled personnel to this province by looking at private-public partnerships.

The DA will closely monitor the situation.

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