Despite the fact that the MEC for health in Mpumalanga Sasekani Manzini promised that all the province’s health facilities would have enough chronic medication by last Friday, following an exposé by a national publication, it has transpired that some of the clinics still have a shortage of medicine.
In the report, the publication reported that patients who are on treatment for HIV-Aids, TB, high blood pressure and other chronic illnesses were being turned away at more than 25 health facilities because of a shortage of medication.
On the 29th of June, after visiting some of the affected facilities, Manzini said: “We have noted the concerns and I have given instructions that medicine must be ordered with speed from our pharmaceutical depot in Middelburg and, by Friday, the 2nd of July, all health facilities should be having adequate quantities of [chronic] medicine.
“The premier and I will on Friday visit the depot to check if all required medicine has been dispatched to all health facilities. “We have instructed our staff, with immediate effect, to work day and night to ensure that we provide all medicine,” she said.
This week, Jerusalem clinic near White River and Mapulaneng Hospital in Bushbuckridge were still turning patients away because there was not enough medication. Busi Mhlongo from Masoyi said she was recently turned away at Jerusalem clinic and old that there was no injection for her two-year-old baby.
“I took my baby to the clinic for her regular vaccination, but I was told that the clinic ran out of injections,” said Mhlongo.
Another resident, Ubrent Dube, said he recently visited Mapulaneng Hospital to extract his tooth, but he was told that there was no injection. Dube was not told when to return to extract his tooth.
“They just told me they can’t help because the injections were out of stock,” said Dube.
Treatment Action Campaign Mpumalanga manager, Sihle Shabalala has confirmed that ARV treatment was now available at some of the facilities, but could not confirm whether the health facilities based in Masoyi and Bushbuckridge got their share.
“At most of the health facilities that we visited on Friday [July 2], we found out that treatment had been delivered. I am not sure about the facilities based in Bushbuckridge and Masoyi, maybe the department is attending [only] to the clinics that they were told about.”
Dumisani Malamule, the spokesperson for the health department in the province, said the distribution of medication was continuing to cover the remaining areas.