To understand what led to the crises in the Free State it is helpful to backtrack to 2005 when the provincial scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) programmes across South Africa’s nine provinces began in earnest.
By Ufrieda Ho – Back in the mid-90s, Angelina Manale Mookadi had dreams of becoming a nurse. “I thought it was a profession I could afford because the government was going to help me pay for my studies. And I always wanted to help my community,” she says, sitting in the kitchen of her home in Tsephong, outside of Welkom, in the Free State.
The #BopheloHouse94 community health workers have been on trial since April 2014. Their crime? Holding a peaceful night vigil in the hope that their political leaders will explain why they had all been dismissed.
By Ufrieda Ho – All over the Free State things are buzzing with public works projects, but also with electioneering. It seems there are as many road works and infrastructure upgrades as there are election posters on walls and lampposts.
By Ufrieda Ho – For five days after 18-year-old Kekeletso Kikilame had given birth, she could not wash herself or her newborn, as there was no hot water at the Dr JS Moroka Hospital in the Free State.
By Ufrieda Ho – A storm brews overnight and the heavens open with hours of endless rain. Each drop is a welcome respite for the locals of QwaQwa where the taps had been running dry for more than eight months by the middle of May this year.
By Ufrieda Ho – The Free State’s health care system – in tatters in so many places – also has one recurring nightmare: Buthelezi Emergency Medical Services, to whom public emergency services have been outsourced.
By Mary-Jane Matsolo – Activist Mary-Jane Matsolo last year heard “saddening and horrific” stories from the more than 50 people who testified during the People’s Commission of Inquiry into the Free State Healthcare System. She recently entered the field to assess whether anything had changed. These are her notes.