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.
Despite glaring poverty and the high unemployment rate plaguing the village of Ngquthu near Dutywa in the Amathole district in the Eastern Cape, villagers pulled together their resources to refurbish what was once a preschool into a community health facility. The community took their access to healthcare into their own hands after complaints over the long distance and residents who, on the way to the nearest clinic, fell victim to a spate of rapes and muggings. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.