As the final negotiations in the 2021 budget process unfold, the government of the Eastern Cape and the department of health in particular are being asked to do more with less. It is now more urgent than ever to strengthen public primary health care, argue Ektaa Deochand and Russell Rensburg.
It is more than a year since Spotlight visited the Xhora Mouth area in the Eastern Cape to report on the locals’ challenges in accessing health care services. Now, a year later, not much has changed. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
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.
Medicine stockouts can have dire consequences. Tendai Mafuma and Ruth Dube look at lessons learnt over the years on how to help prevent medicine stockouts and argue that although the interventions are not new, if implemented it could help solve the vicious cycle of medicine stockouts in the Eastern Cape.
The persistent challenges in public health in the Eastern Cape, highlight the critical role of leadership. Prof Helen Schneider argues if we are to reimagine a future of access, equity and justice in health and health care in the Eastern Cape, we need bottom-up institution-building involving civil society and not just top-down legislative, budgetary and other reforms.
For over 9 million learners across the country, school meals are a lifeline, but this came to a grinding halt during the hard COVID-19 lockdown period. As a result, many learners became dependent on soup kitchens and donations. In the fourth part of a six-part series on child hunger and nutrition, Kathryn Cleary speaks to learners about how they were affected and how some organisations are fighting for improvements.
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are an important element in the government’s re-engineering of primary health care strategy. Here Melanie Alperstein and Tinashe Njanji highlight the challenges CHWs in the Eastern Cape face and offer some solutions to improve the working conditions of CHWs and improve health outcomes in the province.
Numbers from the National Institute of Communicable Disease and from some provinces show that TB diagnoses have dropped dramatically in 2020 – likely due to COVID-19 and the related lockdown. The Eastern Cape Department of Health has however declined to share information on the TB situation in the province and their catch-up plans. Some activists are concerned about the situation. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
After more than 16 years at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, Shihaam Cader and her team have helped to treat and rehabilitate thousands of malnourished children. Kathryn Cleary chatted to Cader for the first part of a six-part special series on child hunger in South Africa.
Much has been reported on alleged corruption and governance failures in the Eastern Cape Health department that have devastating consequences for health services to those most in need. This is also true for inadequate Emergency Medical Services in the province. Nontsikelelo Mpulo and Thokozile Mtsolongo argue that solutions to the province’s EMS woes should start with improved spending of available budgets.
With chronic health worker shortages and limited resources such as ventilators in rural public health facilities, how did Zithulele Hospital in OR Tambo District manage its COVID-19 cases? Tiyese Jeranji spoke to two doctors working at Zithulele about an innovative oxygen solution, infection control, and much more.
The dire state of health infrastructure and services in the Eastern Cape has made headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic and triggered promises of government intervention, but in some hospitals those providing and receiving healthcare note little to no improvement. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.