The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in Gauteng on Friday said it was launching a fact-finding mission into the state of public hospitals across the province.
The move was prompted by the collapse of roof near the entrance to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital on Thursday. Five people were injured as a result.
“Hospitals are a place of safety and shelter, not a place where people are hurt. Our thoughts go out to those injured and we are thankful that there was no loss of life,” said the TAC in a statement.
“However, we are unequivocal that urgent steps need to be taken by MEC Ramokgopa to audit the infrastructure all Gauteng health facilities and ensure this does not happen again.”
TAC Gauteng said it was launching a fact-finding mission into the state of public hospitals across the province in which it will monitor the state of infrastructure and service delivery.
“Are there enough doctors, nurses, porters, security guards? Are people sent home without medicines? How long must people wait to be seen in the facilities? Are the facilities clean? Are there enough beds? Do people get the service they need?” are some of the questions the TAC will seek answers to.
The organisation said it will meet with the new Gauteng MEC of Health, Gwen Ramokgopa, on 16 March to discuss an end to the crisis in the public healthcare system.
“In addition to other issues, we will raise our concerns over the state of our facilities. We urge MEC Ramokgopa to undertake an urgent audit of health facilities across the province,” said the TAC.
“The results of which should be made public together with a plan to address any failings.
“The department must strengthen the Infrastructure Unit (in conjunction with the Department of Public Works) to address backlog maintenance, routine maintenance and the building of new health facilities – as well as ensure better monitoring and oversight of material procurement processes – in order to prevent any further disasters in our health facilities.”
The TAC also said it was “alarming” that doctors at Charlotte Maxeke had been complaining for years about the structural problems, and that they felt the need to remain anonymous in making the reports.
The organisation urged Ramokgopa to ensure a new era of openness, engagement and accountability from the provincial health department. No healthcare worker should fear victimisation as a result of speaking out, the TAC stated.
“Proper maintenance of existing infrastructure and the development of more suitable infrastructure is essential to ensure safety, suitability, cleanliness and the proper functioning of facilities across the province.” said the civil society organisation.
“While Treasury cuts the health facility revitalization grant, the onus is on the MEC Ramokgopa to ensure enough money is put towards maintenance projects through the equitable share. National cuts must not impact negatively on the quality of our health facilities.”
– African News Agency