Undocumented patients a strain on Johannesburg health system – Mashaba

Mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba speaking at the Divercity Urban Property Fund during a sod-turning ceremony for the Jewel City redevelopment. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ AfricanNewsAgency (ANA)

Mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba speaking at the Divercity Urban Property Fund during a sod-turning ceremony for the Jewel City redevelopment. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ AfricanNewsAgency (ANA)

‘The Constitution guarantees healthcare to all, however, we have limited resources,’ he says.

The city of Johannesburg’s health department is struggling to cope with an increasing number of undocumented patients who visit its public facilities, mayor Herman Mashaba said on Tuesday.

He said secondary data analysis extracted from the electronic health records system on 66 of the city’s 81 clinics found that 15%to 39% of patients accessing services had no identification, including both South Africans and foreign nationals.

The number of undocumented patients has increased from 32,092 to 82,923 between 2016 and 2018.

“The Constitution guarantees healthcare to all, however, we have limited resources and our systems are under severe strain,” Mashaba said.

“We need the national government and [the department of] home affairs to assist so as to properly budget for services which need to be provided arising from this Constitutional responsibility.”

He said while South African patients might not disclose their identity to avoid the social stigma associated with some diseases, illegal immigrants opted to conceal it to avoid potential deportation.

Mashaba said he was also troubled by the number of pregnant undocumented persons who reportedly presented themselves at the city’s clinics “at the eleventh hour”, saying the facilities were not meant to deal with emergency deliveries.

– African News Agency

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