By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:
Two KZN Health mobile Hospitals– the subject of an ongoing Public Access to Information Application (PAIA) by the DA following alleged tender abuse – have been found to be in an appalling state.
The units – a mobile truck hospital and a mobile clinic were last week inspected by the DA during a health outreach programme conducted during the two day KZN Youth parliament last week in Greytown.
The DA’s impromptu inspection revealed that;
– A minor theatre set up in one of the units includes a bed which is broken and covered in dust
– The same unit had no surgical equipment including medicines and it was evident that it had not been used in a long time
– The tap had no running water
– A thermometer used to monitor a medicine fridge, discarded cotton wool, a used medicine vial and a set of keys were found dumped in the sink
– The entire unit was dirty and in no condition for clinical use.
Another unit used as a mobile clinic had just two plastic chairs while medical waste was in a bag lying on the floor. The same vehicle had a broken tail light flouting traffic laws.
While an eye testing unit, also present at the function, was found to be clean, the DA could not assess whether everything was in working order.
The DA also noted the absence of an X-ray unit at the event. According to one of the nurses, it is not the norm for this unit to conduct such outreach projects or accompany the other vehicle. This is in direct contravention of KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo’s grandstanding about KZN’s mobile clinics.
The DA is astounded that the MEC and his department are happy for patients to be exposed to such dilapidated, unhygienic facilities.
And then there are the financial implications. None of these units come cheap. In fact, the department forked out a whopping R61million for two of them that we are aware of. That they have simply been allowed to fall into such shocking disrepair is despicable and the DA demands to know how and why.
Given last week’s discovery the DA is more serious than ever about obtaining the tender documents for the procurement of these units. We continue to believe that the acquisition process was flawed.
Following recent assurances by MEC Dhlomo, that he will acknowledge and respond to our PAIA, the DA has ever agreed to delay referring the matter to the Public Protector.
We are prepared to give the MEC until the close of business on Friday to do so.
The millions spent on these units cannot be justified when one sees what was on show last week. This is public money that should be spent on ensuring that every citizen in our province has access to quality healthcare.