Only strong political and administrative leadership can save EC healthcare

John Cupido MPL

Health, Economic Affairs, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature

Healthcare in the Eastern Cape is on the verge of collapse. A lack of political and administrative leadership is 100% to blame for the need of the healthcare march planned for tomorrow by the Eastern Cape Healthcare Coalition. The ANC can no longer pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Eastern Cape with half-hearted and false attempts of making things better.

Healthcare in the Eastern Cape is on the verge of collapse. A lack of political and administrative leadership is 100% to blame for the need of the healthcare march planned for tomorrow by the Eastern Cape Healthcare Coalition. The ANC can no longer pull the wool over the eyes of the people of the Eastern Cape with half-hearted and false attempts of making things better.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wholeheartedly shares the concerns and grievances raised by the coalition (made up of the Treatment Action Campaign, Section 27, the Democratic Nurses Association of South Africa and the Rural Doctor’s Association of South Africa). These are concerns raised time and time again by the DA in Health Portfolio Committee meetings and in sittings of the Provincial Legislature.

The department can no longer turn a blind eye to the fact that there is a shortage of over 15 000 professional nurses, 1200 medical doctors and hundreds of pharmacists to name just a few of the desperately needed clinical staff.

As the situation currently stands, the department can’t even properly pay the existing critical clinical staff, with well over R150 million in outstanding monies still owed to them. How can we expect to recruit and retain more doctors, nurses and pharmacists if we cant even pay the existing ones?

There is a healthcare infrastructure backlog of over R22 billion, and with the minimal amount budgeted for maintenance, this backlog grows by about R800 million each year. Healthcare infrastructure includes buildings and essential equipment such as x-ray machines.

Other grievances the DA shares with the coalition are:

  • The shortages of pharmaceutical supplies due to a chaotic supply chain management system.
  • Dilapidated healthcare facilities.
  • Archaic and broken medical equipment.
  • A severely inadequate and deficient ambulance service.

One cannot begin to fix the problem without first fixing the administration of the Eastern Cape Department of Health. It is excessively bloated with unnecessary and corrupt officials that have dragged it down to this state of collapse.

The DA hopes that with the permanent appointment of the new SG of Health, Dr. Thobile Mbengashe, brings in the type of leadership that will cut out the rot in the administrative arm of the department that is causing healthcare to collapse and citizens of this province to die unnecessarily.