Earlier this month the world celebrated breastfeeding week. To improve infant nutrition by 2025, the United Nations set targets to eliminate malnutrition and increase breastfeeding rates to at least 50% – targets that South Africa also subscribes to. In South Africa, however, often mothers are poor, unemployed, and hungry – all factors impacting their ability to breastfeed and, ultimately, the nutrition their babies receive. As Women’s Month draws to a close, Refilwe Mochoari looked at the nuances of this challenge in the Free State, where mothers often face a litany of socio-economic challenges and asks how government can support these mothers better.
The Free State has a new Health MEC – Mathabo Leeto, who is also provincial treasurer of the ANC in the province. She recently replaced Montseng Tsiu. Refilwe Mochoari spoke to Leeto about her plans for the department and asked opposition parties and nursing unions about this move and their expectations for health services in the Free State.
In July this year temperatures in some parts of the Free State dropped as low as minus 8 degrees Celsius while in some hospitals patients were told to bring their own blankets or brace the cold without. Although the provincial health department denies any linen and blanket shortages, Refilwe Mochoari found patients who say otherwise.
Shortages of healthcare workers are contributing to long waiting times at healthcare facilities, poor treatment adherence, and are undermining the response to HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in the Free State, findings in a new report show. Refilwe Mochoari attended the launch of the report and asked the Free State Department of Health for its response.
In the Free State as a whole, roughly 16 COVID-19 jabs have been administered for every 100 people. In the province’s rural districts, the number is closer to one for every 100. Refilwe Mochoari spoke to a nursing union, some organisations on the ground, and the Free State Department of Health to get the full picture.