Alcohol & Drugs Health Management

Poor health system hits the poor hard’€“ SAHRC

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says poor communities are hardest hit by poor infrastructure and the shortage of staff in the public health care system.

The audio is in isiZulu. See English summary below.

MABUTHO: Ongummeli wekhomishana yamalungelo esintu (SAHRC) uAdv Kaya Zweni uthi uphenyo lwabo abalwenze kwizikhungo zezempilo zikahulumeni ezingaphezulu kwamashumi asithupha kuleli lubonisa ukuthi imiphakathi empofu, ikakhulukazi ezindaweni zasemakhaya, yiyona ezwela kakhulu kwizinkinga zokuntuleka kwabasebenzi bezempilo kanye nezinsiza kusebenza ezibhedlela zikahulumeni. UAdv Zweni ubekhuluma esigcawini sezinsuku ezintathu ebesihlelwe iHuman Rights Commission ukuzwa ngezinkinga ezivimbela abantu ukuba bathole usizo ezikhungweni zezempilo. Uthi inhlungu nezinhlupheko lemiphakathi ephila ngaphansi kwazo zingaphezulu kokwenza.

ADV KAYA: The pain and the suffering experienced by the poor, the marginalized, is beyond our comprehension. Even (in) the visits that we have conducted and (in) the interviews, you could feel that there is a deep sense of hurt and anger in the people.

MABUTHO: Phakathi kwezinto azidalulile eziyinkinga ezibhedlela zikahululemini ukuma kolayini abade, ukwentuleka kwemithi njengoba ethi abanye babantu abakhulume nabo belibeke ngembaba elokuthi balahlekelwe ithemba ngezibhedlela zikahulumeni ngoba noma ngabe baguliswa yisiphi isifo uma beya ezibhedlela bafike banikezwe iPanado. Okunye abantu abakhale ngakho kuloluphenyo lwabo ukwedelelwa kanye nokungaphathwa kahle ngama nurse. Oka Zweni uthi nakuba abanye babantu abakhulume nabo bazi ngamalungelo abo bayesaba ukuphumela obala babike izinkinga ababhekana nazo ngenxa yemiphumela yokungase kwenzeke kubona.

ADV KAYA ZWENI: We noted that the patients, generally, are not aware of their rights. Those who are aware or having little knowledge of their rights are afraid to complain because of possible repercussions from the nursing staff. In particular, the elderly patients have complained of lack of respect and rudeness from some of the nursing staff and that if they lodge a complaint, that will further extend their stay in hospital or they will be immediately discharged.

MABUTHO: Nokho ongusekelamongameli wenyunyana yama nurse iDemocratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) uEthel Radebe uthi kumele umphakathi wazi ukuthi amanesi akubona abantu abanezinhliziyo ezilukhuni njengoba abantu abaningi becabanga kanjalo. Uthi okwenza ukuthi ama nurse abukeke njengabantu abangenazinhliziyo ukuntuleka kwabahlengikazi kanye nezinsiza kusebenza okwenza ngezinye izikhathi abahlengikazi bagcine sebenza imisebenzi okufanele ngabe yenziwa ngabantu abathile ikakhulukazi labo abasebenzela ezindaweni zasemakhaya.

ETHEL RADEBE: Our communities think nurses are in charge of everything. That is not the case. Nurses are highly-skilled people. You go to the rural areas, most of the nurses that are working there are enrolled nurses – people who in terms of their qualifications have a certain degree of nursing that they can give. If you could visit there, you’€™d find out that this enrolled nurse is doing almost everything, even beyond the legal requirement of her scope of practice.

MABUTHO: Kanti no Advocate Zweni uyavuma ukuthi izimo ezingezinhle zokusebenza ukuntuleka kwabasebenzi  ikakhulukazi ama nurse kanye nezinsiza kusebenza ezibhedlela zasemakhaya kudala ukuthi kuphele umdlandla womsebenzi.

ADV KAYA ZWENI: Some staff members have complained of lack of allowances, especially those who are working in rural areas, unfavorable working conditions ‘€“ which on its own can be linked to the high turn-over of staff – and lack of good management has been a particular concern.

MABUTHO: Khona manjalo uDr Kgosi Letlape ongumongameli wenhlangano yodokotela kuleli iSouth Africa Medical Association (SAMA) uthi ukwehluleka ukwenza ngcono izibhedlela zikahulumeni kuyafana nokuvuselelwa kabusha kobandlululo. Uthi bekumele umuntu uma eya esibhedlela sikahulumeni kungabibikho ukungabaza ngezinga lalezizibhedlela.

DR KGOSI LETLAPE: If we don’€™t create a public health care system that all of us can depend on, then we are in a new form of discrimination. And I think we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our people that life is life, and that when you need health care you will be treated by a caring health system.

MABUTHO: UDr Letlape uthi lezizinkinga ezikhona kwezempilo azidalwa ukuntuleka kwezimali njengoba ethi isabelomali salomnyango asisincane kangako ukuthi sekungalokhu kukhalwa ngaso. Uthi okuyikhona okubonakala kuthanda ukuba inkinga indlela lesisibelo mali esisetshenziswa ngakhona. Uthi uma lesisisabelo mali  besingasetshenziswa ngendlela mukhulu umehluko obungabonakala.

 

DR KGOSI LETLAPE: As a nation we spend in excess of 8% of GDP on health. And there is, therefore, a strong basis for arguing that the key challenge facing the South Africa health sector is not one of a lack of financial resources, but rather a great need to use existing resources more efficiently and equitably.

 

MABUTHO: Ngesikhathi kuhleli isithangami sezinsuku ezintathu sekhomishana yamalungelo esintu iningi lezithunywa liye labalula ukuthi mukhulu umsebenzi okumele wenziwe ukwenza ngcono ukusebenza kwezibhedlela kanye nemitholampilo kahulumeni ngenxa yokuntuleka kwabasebenzi kanye nezinsiza kusebenza.

 

English summary

 

Poor health system hits the poor hard’€“ SAHRC

 

The South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says poor communities are hardest hit by poor infrastructure and the shortage of staff in the public health care system.

 

Speaking during the three-day public hearings held in Johannesburg, recently on the state of public health services, Advocate Kaya Zweni of the South African Human Rights Commission said more than 60 public health care institutions in the country indicate that poor communities, particularly rural areas, are hardest hit by lack of resources and the shortage of staff. This follows an investigation by the Human Rights Commission.        

 

‘€œThe pain and the suffering experienced by the poor, the marginalized, is beyond our comprehension. Even (in) the visits that we have conducted and (in) the interviews, you could feel that there is a deep sense of hurt and anger in the people,’€ he said.

 

Zweni said among major challenges facing public hospitals are the long queues that keep people waiting long hours before being attended to, shortage of medication with some of the respondents in the investigation complaining about always being given Panado tablets in public hospitals and clinics, regardless of the nature of the illness, and ‘€œthe lack of respect’€ from the nursing staff. However, he says despite all these problems patients are scared to complain because of the treatment they may receive from staff.

 

‘€œWe noted that the patients, generally, are not aware of their rights. Those who are aware or having little knowledge of their rights are afraid to complain because of possible repercussions from the nursing staff. In particular, the elderly patients have complained of lack of respect and rudeness from some of the nursing staff and that if they lodge a complaint, that will further extend their stay in hospital or they will be immediately discharged,’€ Adv Zweni said.

 

Deputy President of the Democratic Nurses’€™ Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA), Ethel Radebe says, the reason why nurses are perceived as heartless people is because they are under-staffed, particularly in rural areas.

 

‘€œOur communities think nurses are in charge of everything. That is not the case. You go to the rural areas, most of the nurses that are working there are enrolled nurses – people who in terms of their qualifications have a certain degree of nursing that they can give. If you could visit there, you’€™d find out that this enrolled nurse is doing almost everything, even beyond the legal requirement of her scope of practice,’€ she said.

 

Advocate Zweni also agrees that the SAHRC’€™s investigation found  poor working conditions and a shortage of staff.

 

‘€œSome staff members have complained of lack of allowances, especially those who are working in rural areas. Unfavorable working conditions and lack of good management has been a particular concern,’€ he said.

 

Meanwhile, Dr Kgosi Letlape, the president of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) compared the current health system to the apartheid system, as it creates inequality ‘€“ with the poor bearing the brunt.

 

‘€œIf we don’€™t create a public health care system that all of us can depend on, then we are in a new form of discrimination. And I think we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our people that life is life, and that when you need health care you will be treated by a caring health system,’€ said Dr Letlape.

 

According to Dr Letlape some of the problems within the public health care system cannot be attributed to financial constraints, as the current budget is not too small to be used as a scapegoat. He says what seems to be lacking is the proper management of the Health budget.

 

‘€œAs a nation we spend in excess of 8% of GDP on health. And there is, therefore, a strong basis for arguing that the key challenge facing the South African health sector is not one of a lack of financial resources, but rather a great need to use existing resources more efficiently and equitably,’€ he said.

About the author

Health-e News

Health-e News is South Africa's dedicated health news service and home to OurHealth citizen journalism. Follow us on Twitter @HealtheNews