JOHANNESBURG– The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in Limpopo on Thursday called on Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba to urgently address the lack of vital medication and testing kits for HIV and Malaria.
“Each day we hear reports of collapse, pain, indignity, loss, shock and grief. Our peoples’ Constitutional right to healthcare is being violated,” said Helen Nkuna TAC Limpopo Chairperson.
“Our own monitoring in recent months at facilities across the Mopani and Vhembe districts confirm the extent of this crisis. If the MEC does not take our demands seriously, we will be back here in our numbers.”
A report compiled by TAC on the state of healthcare in the province, indicated that shortages of ARVs had been reduced, but medication for other severe illnesses were still a major concern.
“Stock-outs of essential medicines places the health of TAC members and people in our communities at risk,” the report says.
It says medicines for malaria, diabetes, high blood pressure and many other conditions are regularly out of stock or in short supply.
“In relation to HIV testing, widespread stock-outs and shortages of HIV testing kits were identified by TAC Limpopo in July 2017, following many complaints by members of the public..since July the problem is only being addressed very slowly.”
The report said TB remained the leading reported cause of death with more than 33,063 deaths in the country in 2015. Of the 23 facilities assessed by the TAC, 17 were found to be in a “red state” with very poor infection control measures in place.
“At a recent dialogue on HPV, complaints were made to TAC that women faced extremely long waiting times to get the results of pap smears. Further they complained that nurses at a primary healthcare level lacked understanding on the prevention and diagnosis of cancers,” Nkuna said.
The TAC said it had given the Limpopo health department a deadline to deal with the matters it raised.
“The deadline for meeting a number demands is end November. Failure to meet all these demands by the set date will result in a stepping up of our advocacy activities – which may include sit-ins, protest action, and various forms of civil disobedience,” warned the activist organisation.