Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in Limpopo salute MEC of Health Ramathuba

POLOKWANE, 23rd SEPTEMBER: The Treatment Action Campaign Limpopo commend MEC of Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, for the rapid implementation of key resolutions taken in a meeting between TAC Limpopo and the MEC of Health on 19th July 2015. Numerous challenges in the provincial public healthcare system were outlined at this meeting by TAC Limpopo. We are pleased to note that the provincial health department has begun to take serious action on several of these.
Of major concern earlier in the year were the stockouts and shortages of medicines in many clinics and healthcare facilities in Limpopo. At the South African AIDS Conference in June, Amukelani Maluleke of TAC Limpopo noted that “most of the time when a person can’t get a medicine at their local clinic, that medicine is collecting dust somewhere in a depot.” Having raised this issue with the MEC of Health, TAC is pleased to note that each facility reported as facing supply problems has seen a turnaround to ensure adequate supply of medicines and medical tools for users of the healthcare system to access.
In addition, earlier this year TAC Limpopo also received many reports of inefficient planned patient transport. Patients were reported to have to sleep in waiting rooms for a night while waiting for transport to tertiary hospitals due to poor management. According to Solly Milambo of TAC Limpopo, “this was entirley unneccessary, providing a low standard of care to people needing to access this transport.” Following our complaints the MEC of Health took steps to resolve this challenge by carrying out unannounced visits to the facilities in question, such as Nkhensani Hospital in Giyani. Following this patients are now admitted to hospital the night prior to transportation, provided with a bed, and discharged in the morning when transported.
Further to this we call for all hospital CEOs to provide patients with accommodation the night ahead of transportation to provincial hospitals. Not only following a visit by the MEC, but on a permanent basis.  
Finally TAC Limpopo engaged with the MEC around the realisation of the governance structures at health facilities as required by National Health Act. TAC believes that the functionality of these structures, including clinic committees and hospital boards, as well as meaningful involvement of community within them, is essential for the accountability of the public healthcare system. Proper functioning governance structures will provide a forum for community members to engage in dialogue on their local healthcare system, including to raise any concerns or challenges. As users of the healthcare system they are the first to know when something isn’t working. The re-establishment of these structures is therefore essential to allow local health advocacy to ensure fully functional services.
We commend the postive steps taken by the MEC of Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba so far, and hope to have continued open dialogue with her and the provincial health department going forward.
Issued by TAC LIMPOPO Office
For further information, please contact:
Amukelani Maluleke // 072 592 9897 //
Solanga Milambo // 072 865 7771 //