Health services back on track after shutdown protests

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Public health care returns to normal in Maluti-a-Phofung after community unrest affected services earlier this week. Roads were barricaded, keeping staff at health facilities in the area from attending to their official duties at clinics and hospitals.

According to the Free State Health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi, about 94% of primary health care facilities in the region were not operational on Monday due to the unrest.

“The regional hospital, Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli, had significant numbers of staff not on duty. The district hospital, Elizabeth Ross, reported that 75% of its staff did not report for duty,” he said.

As a result, the department – with the help of the police – put contingency measures in place to get services running again. These included police escorts for emergency services and the assistance of air ambulances, amongst others.

“We ensured that our suppliers were escorted to deliver medical supplies, medicines, laboratory tests, food supplies and water,” explained Mvambi.

“We are happy that the shutdown has been halted because it impacted negatively on the security guarantees to our personnel and proper functionality of our health care services,” added the spokesperson.

During the unrest, two trauma patients had to be airlifted to Bloemfontein, while a burglary took place at a clinic in Namahadi.

MEC Montseng Tsiu thanked health staff who braved the ordeal and went to hospitals and clinics. “Their commitment and determination to serve our patients even in the face of intimidation and threats of violence is unequalled and deserves accolades of higher levels of patriotism,” she said.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele

nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za