South Africa is barrelling towards its most consequential and most competitive national and provincial elections since 1994. Spotlight editor Marcus Low asks what is on the line in these elections from a healthcare perspective and argues that the stakes are particularly high when it comes to NHI and the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provincial health departments.
The Gauteng Department of Health has struggled this year to ensure that patients in the province’s hospitals always have the food they need. Now a decision to source food for Gauteng hospitals via a government contract in Limpopo is raising eyebrows. Thabo Molelekwa reports.
In June, the Gauteng government launched a major employment drive called Nasi iSpani. Thabo Molelekwa spoke to stakeholders in the public health sector about what this may mean for the province’s chronic healthcare worker shortages.
Staff say patients at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in need of vascular surgery face a three-month wait for life-saving surgery because of what some staff are calling “fishy” operational management and bad planning. According to hospital management, however, patients will be diverted to other hospitals during this period. Ufrieda Ho reports.
Following an article in Spotlight bemoaning “the lack of urgency” by the Gauteng Department of Health in addressing cancer and surgical backlogs despite having been allocated funds toward this, Dr Stephen Mankupane, Acting Head of Hospital Services in the provincial health department, writes that there is no disputing the fact that there is a need to act with urgency in attending to these backlogs and outlines what the department is doing. Here is his response in full.
It is almost three months since – partly through the efforts of SECTION27 and Cancer Alliance – money was made available to the Gauteng Health Department to outsource radiation oncology services and address surgical backlogs in the province. It is deeply worrying that despite being provided with resources for this outsourcing project, very little has been done to date to ensure that patients get the long overdue care that they need, writes Khanyisa Mapipa.
In a landmark court decision, the Gauteng High Court recently confirmed the rights of all pregnant and lactating women and children under age six to access services for free at all levels of care. The court order sets a good precedent for migrant health rights going forward, writes Mbali Baduza and Kholofelo Mphahlele as they explain the build-up to the court proceedings and why this is significant for re-affirming the right to access to healthcare for all in terms of section27 of the Constitution.
Six months after Spotlight first reported on the plight of stoma patients experiencing shortages of colostomy and urostomy bags at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Gauteng, users are still reporting shortages at Baragwanath and other hospitals in the province. Thabo Molelekwa reports.
Already bogged down by loadshedding, operations at various health facilities in Gauteng and a few other provinces have also been disrupted due to cable theft, creating another layer of risk for patients and healthcare workers. This is despite millions being paid for security at these health facilities. Thabo Molelekwa reports.
Following a Labour Appeal Court judgement on Monday, health minister Dr Joe Phaahla during a media briefing on Monday night said the department has given essential health workers until Tuesday morning to report for work. Should they fail to do this, “they will be making themselves liable to charges of misconduct”. Spotlight reporters have been visiting healthcare facilities to assess the situation.
On 8 March 2023, the Gauteng MEC for Finance delivered his budget speech in which he indicated that an amount of R784 million has been set aside for the provincial health department to “address backlogs in surgical and radiation oncology services” in Gauteng. Khanyisa Mapipa and Salomé Meyer reflect on the work done to get to this point.
It is a race against the clock to keep to the timetable for repairs at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. This as Gauteng’s public healthcare needs mount and the challenges of alleged criminal activity and inefficiencies at the hospital persist. Ufrieda Ho reports.