By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:
THE DA calls on KZN’s Health department to urgently work with municipalities across the province to ensure that hospitals and clinics are not left without water, placing patients’ lives at serious risk.
The appeal comes after a media report on the dire situation at Bethesda hospital, which saw critical patients airlifted to other health facilities which have water.
While the DA welcomes such swift action the reality is that if this becomes more widespread, the department will not have the ability to cope.
The situation at Bethesda hospital is certainly not unique. Water shortages have reached critical levels across the province with healthcare facilities severely affected.
This obviously has a severe effect on the running of healthcare facilities and further compromises the health of patients.
Currently, the majority of hospitals and clinics on the KZN South Coast do not have enough drinking water or tanks to store such water.
The DA has already raised this with the provincial health department. Instead of assuring us they would deliver bottled water to these facilities, they told me I should pray for rain.
It is only thanks to the generosity of some community members that water has been delivered to these facilities.
The DA acknowledges that the DoH is not equipped to handle water delivery. Nor is it the department’s responsibility.
What the DoH is responsible for though, is ensuring that municipalities deliver water to hospitals and clinics on time and that water tanks at those facilities which have them are full.
Healthcare facilities cannot function without water and KZN’s DoH and municipalities must prioritise this urgent problem.