Durban – THE SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) chairperson Bongani Majola has found staff shortages and old, dilapidated infrastructure at some KwaZulu-Natal hospitals and a clinic.
Majola made the observations during a week-long visit to various facilities to assess the state of healthcare in KZN.
Majola visited the Church of Scotland Hospital at Tugela Ferry, Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni, and Madadeni Hospital and the Mndozo Clinic in Newcastle.
He said part of the aim of the visit was to bring their observations to the attention of the new provincial government.
“One of the issues that stands out is the issue of staffing of these healthcare facilities.
“You find that each one complains about staffing and some of the reasons for the staff shortage is the moratorium imposed by National Treasury, making it difficult for hospitals to employ replacements when there are resignations,” Majola said.
“We also noted that there is a problem with the infrastructure; it is old, dilapidated and not well maintained. There is a shortage of space, because the institutions have not grown in tandem with the growth of the population in their catchment areas.”
In March the commission reported on the state of mental healthcare in South Africa, finding that the facilities for mental healthcare-users were severely under-resourced.
“Our selection of Madadeni Hospital was because that hospital has a psychiatric component and many other hospitals do not have a psychiatric component,” Majola said.
He said they also wanted to see whether it was properly resourced.
They found that almost all healthcare facilities in South Africa did not cater for adolescents with psychiatric problems, which puts them at the risk of their rights being violated in different ways.
He said they also wanted to visit Durban hospitals but ran out of time.
Health Department spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi said they welcomed the engagement by the commission and acknowledged the issues it raised.
“Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu is on record as saying that she will continue to lobby for funding to ensure minimum staff establishment across the department.
“This will alleviate the burden on healthcare workers, reduce waiting times and improve overall client experience. This process will entail trimming down the staff complement at head office, whereby certain managers will be redeployed to serve the public at healthcare facilities,” Nkosi said.
Source: Daily News