Health services in the Eastern Cape: What changed since the last elections?

Health services in the Eastern Cape: What changed since the last elections?

Luvuyo Mehlwana looks back at the performance of public healthcare services in the Eastern Cape over the last five years – a term characterised by leadership instability, infrastructure problems, financial short-falls, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Opinion: We can’t simply close dental facilities during the festive period

Opinion: We can’t simply close dental facilities during the festive period

The closure of some public sector oral health clinics in the Eastern Cape over the festive period is deeply concerning, having left some patients with nowhere to go. A comprehensive plan must be put in place for efficient management and referral of emergency oral healthcare cases during this time and we must ensure that people who need the services are aware of how to access them, argues Dr Bulela Vava.

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Funding shortfall and poor roads to blame for ambulance woes, says Eastern Cape Health Dept

Funding shortfall and poor roads to blame for ambulance woes, says Eastern Cape Health Dept

Some residents in the Eastern Cape have been left frustrated by delays or outright lack of response by Emergency Medical Services in the province. This is in part caused by a chronic shortage of ambulances and paramedics. Recent labour disputes have further complicated the situation. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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Interview: “I’m doing it with my whole heart”, says SA’s rural nurse of the year

Interview: “I’m doing it with my whole heart”, says SA’s rural nurse of the year

Nosiphiwo Gunuza from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape was the first college graduate in her family and is their sole breadwinner. The 43-year-old health worker was recently crowned South Africa’s Rural Nurse of the Year. Biénne Huisman caught up with Gunuza.

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Mixed feelings on NHI aired at Eastern Cape hearing

Mixed feelings on NHI aired at Eastern Cape hearing

Concerns around corruption and whether or not there would be health coverage for foreign nationals were two of the top talking points at a recent public hearing on the National Health Insurance Bill held in the Eastern Cape. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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In-depth: Will Eastern Cape Health reforms survive the change in leadership?

In-depth: Will Eastern Cape Health reforms survive the change in leadership?

The Eastern Cape Department of Health have for years made headlines for the wrong reasons. A few weeks prior to her recent removal as head of the department, Dr Rolene Wagner made the case that the situation is being turned around. Tiyese Jeranji looks back at Wagner’s presentation at the Rural Health Conference in Chintsa and asks whether the reforms will continue in her absence.

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Concerns raised at public health conference over freezing of healthcare worker posts

Concerns raised at public health conference over freezing of healthcare worker posts

The National Treasury’s Cost Containment Letter sent to government departments instructing, among others, the freezing of posts was one of the big themes underlying talks about building South Africa’s healthcare worker capacity at the Public Health Association of South Africa’s conference held recently in Gqeberha. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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Orthopaedic surgery: What is behind SA’s long waiting lists?

Orthopaedic surgery: What is behind SA’s long waiting lists?

As of last year, there were 3 449 people waiting on orthopaedic surgery in five of South Africa’s nine provinces. Waiting times in these five provinces ranged from two weeks to over five years. In the Eastern Cape, it can take up to ten years for people to get specific types of orthopaedic surgery. Tiyese Jeranji looks at the numbers and unpacks what it means for healthcare workers and people waiting for orthopaedic surgery.

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In-depth: Why an Eastern Cape TB hospital closed and what comes next

In-depth: Why an Eastern Cape TB hospital closed and what comes next

Two years ago Orsmond TB Hospital in Nelson Mandela Bay closed its doors as a result of dwindling patient numbers. The closure made headlines for the fact that 45 staff members continued to be paid despite the closure. Luvuyo Mehlwana takes a closer look at both the situation at Orsmond and the wider trend of TB hospitals being closed or repurposed.

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In-depth: A tale of two make-do clinics in the rural Eastern Cape

In-depth: A tale of two make-do clinics in the rural Eastern Cape

The state of the Macacuma Clinic and the Ugie Clinic in the Eastern Cape came under the spotlight during the provincial legislature’s health committee visit from 10 to 14 October last year, when they visited several public health facilities in the Joe Gqabi District. Luvuyo Mehlwana recently went back to assess whether there has been any progress at the two facilities since the committee made its findings public.

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Too scared to come to work, nurse says amid rising security concerns at Eastern Cape health facilities

Too scared to come to work, nurse says amid rising security concerns at Eastern Cape health facilities

There are serious concerns over the safety of health workers at public health facilities in the Eastern Cape, with some healthcare workers saying they are scared to go to work. Although the provincial health department says it shares this concern, the department remains tight-lipped over its plans and the relevant security contracts. Luvuyo Mehlwana spoke to union representatives, healthcare workers, and some security personnel about the situation.

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Analysis: 21 months later, what progress has Wagner made in the Eastern Cape?

Analysis: 21 months later, what progress has Wagner made in the Eastern Cape?

For years, the Eastern Cape Department of Health has made the headlines, often for the wrong reasons. From rat-infested hospitals to newborn babies dying in overcrowded and understaffed wards – such challenges have persisted for decades. Luvuyo Mehlwana looked at what has changed since Dr Rolene Wagner took office and asks if heading this department is a poisoned chalice regardless of who is at the helm.

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