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Mediclinic News : Influx strains hospitals

Title

Influx strains hospitals

Date

2016-06-29

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News Description

THE NEW AGE South Africa’s health system is being overburdened as a result of the collapse of the healthcare systems in neighbouring countries. Desperate Zimbabweans and Mozambicans are streaming into South Africa for antenatal care, various surgery procedures, medication, laboratory tests and blood transfusion. “We’re also battling here with so many foreigners coming through, but they equally have the right to life,” a nurse at Tembisa Hospital, who did not want her name published, said. Zimbabwean hospitals charged between R3000 and R3 500 for a pint of blood while public facilities in South Africa give it for free, a snap survey showed. A pregnancy scan cost a staggering R1 500 in neighbouring countries, while it costs a mere R300 in South Africa. A Zimbabwean doctor told The New Age that an appendectomy surgery in Zimbabwe would set you back R25000, while it would cost half that amount in South Africa. “Zimbabwe only has one neurosurgeon in Harare servicing the whole country whereas South Africa has a wide spectrum of specialists. The unavailability of some medicines like cancer medicines also forces patients to cross into South Africa,” the doctor said. He said Zimbabwe hospitals had no vital medicines. Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu recently highlighted the challenge that the influx of foreign patients brings after her visit to a health facility in Zandspruit. “We spoke to 10 women in the antenatal section who were waiting to be treated and seven of them were foreign nationals,” she said. She said that in most cases women, who were in their third trimester, took massive risks by travelling to South Africa to deliver their babies. Health spokesperson Joe Maila said despite the pressure foreigners brought, South Africa’s Constitution is clear that nobody should be refused emergency care in South Africa, regardless of their nationality. “The solution can’t be a health issue only and other departments (like Home Affairs on border controls) have to play a part, but for now we have a job to administer our services to everyone who comes to our facilities,” Maila said. The acting general secretary of the Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa, Oscar Phaka said that the influx could potentially compromise the quality of healthcare rendered by health workers. He said the severe shortage of nurses in the country’s facilities is worsening the situation. Limpopo health spokesperson Derick Kganyago said the province was coping despite a massive shortage of healthcare staff. He said that at least 422 medical specialists were needed, while the province has only 96, with 326 vacant posts. The province, worst affected by patients from across the border, needs 2090 medical officers but employs only 810, leaving 1 280 vacant positions. “One day health workers will be so burnt out that only a few will be able to report to work,” Kganyago said.
Created at 2016/07/06 10:47 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/07/06 10:47 AM by Mediclinic