Health services in large parts of the Northern Cape have virtually collapsed with communities mostly being served by overstretched nurses struggling to cope with the disease and injury burden. The challenges are overwhelming. Qualified doctors, specialists and professional nurses are as scarce as water in this arid province. Health facilities are poorly serviced with basic services such as emergency medical services, cleaning and infection control, drug and basic medical supply stocks, mortuaries, standard operating hours, trauma and mental health services virtually non-existent in most towns. Last November Spotlight travelled a circular route through the province and clocked up about 2 000 kilometres of dirt and tar road. We passed through towns and small outposts, some just blips on the radar long past their heyday. Signposts hinting at suffering whizz by – Sweetfontein (Perspiration Fountain), Omdraaisvlei (Turnback Vlei), Uitlvlug (Flee Away) and so on. We slowed and at times paused in Middelpos, Sutherland, Fraserburg, Loxton, Victoria West, Britstown, De Aar, Prieska, Groblershoop, Upington, Keimoes, Kakamas, Kenhardt, Brandvlei, Calvinia and Nieuwoudtville..
There are many stories to tell and many issues to highlight which we try to do in our main story. However, there are many images to share. Thom Pierce joined the team and captured a collection of images that try to tell a visual story of this arid, beautiful, suffering province.
Spotlight has gone in search of the foot soldiers of the health system, the folk who get the job done quietly and with little fanfare. Nomatter Ndebele and Thom Pierce went to Sweetwaters in KwaZulu-Natal for a reunion with the original Community Health Worker Doris Ntuli.
By Anso Thom, Marcus Low, Nomatter Ndebele and Thom Pierce (photographs) Calvinia, Sutherland, Fraserburg, De Aar, Keimoes, Kakamas. Join Spotlight on a disturbing road-trip through the Northern Cape public healthcare system. In November 2018 Spotlight travelled through the Northern Cape meeting with doctors, nurses, activists, politicians and community members. After…
Orthopaedic surgery backlogs have become old news at Bloemfontein’s Pelonomi Hospital, but it’s still fresh hell for the patients admitted every day and forced to sleep on chairs, on floors and on stretchers pushed up against corridor walls waiting for beds, often for weeks.