By Celeste Barker (MPL), Shadow MEC for Health:
The Democratic Alliance is shocked by the seemingly callous attitude of the East Cape Department of Health (DOH) in the case of 5 year old Arlene Scheepers, who needs a year’s worth of drugs. (The Herald: 19/06/15).
According to media reports, the DOH is dithering over a decision to pay for medication for Arlene, who is suffering from a rare genetic condition called Gaucher’s Disease. She was admitted to Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth.
In a fair society, a 5 year old child with a long life to live has a right to free state health care.
I have submitted a written question for written reply to the MEC, Dr Phumza Dyantyi, and asked Dr Wilmot James (DA National Health Spokesperson) to request support from Dr Aaron Motsaledi (National Minister of Health).
Such breath-taking silence to heart-breaking pleas for an answer from the MEC and the DOH Spokesperson suggest that the DOH has an uncaring attitude and that patient treatment is inconsistent and unreliable.
The state has a constitutional and moral duty to care for vulnerable citizens.
Who could be more vulnerable than a dying 5 year old who needs a year’s worth of drugs before her medical aid kicks in?
Responses regarding the monthly cost of R4 000 for the drug are beyond absurd! If the province cuts its travel and accommodation bills it will comfortably afford this and other lifesaving drugs.
The Eastern Cape Department of Health should hang its head in shame!