Slideshow: Left for dead in the Eastern Cape

Slideshow: Left for dead in the Eastern CapeNowayithi Mbangasini from the Eastern Cape's Xhora Mouth recently lost her child. She said she struggled monthly to raise the R800 to take the child to hospital and was often ridiculed by nurses for relying on grants

Dozens of people recently testified before the South African Human Rights Commission about the Eastern Cape’s lack of emergency medical services and patient transport. Testimonies paint a stark picture of the thin line between life and death in the rural Eastern Cape.

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According to Eastern Cape government, the province has about 500 ambulances to cover the province’s roughly 170,000 sq km. The recent South African Human Rights Commission hearing in East London revealed the complete lack of ambulance services in some areas where 70-year-old men reported never having seen an emergency vehicle. It also highlighted poor response times, untrained emergency call centre staff and the shocking condition of roads in the province’s rural areas.

Health-e News brings you some of the hearing’s heart-breaking testimonies.

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Following the close of the East London hearing late last week, the commission will take two weeks to gather additional information from the province’s health, roads and public works, and finance and planning departments before drafting its findings and recommendations. According to Human Rights Commissioner Pregs Govender, these findings will feed into larger, national hearings scheduled for this year to investigate South Africans’ access to the right to health. – Health-e News.

Additional reporting by Mtshana Mvilisi

An edited version of this story first appeared on Health24.