18 November 2018


Health services are returning to normal

by: Nthusang Lefafa   date: 25 May 2018

Communities in Bokone Bophirima can expect health services to return to normal now that the provincial strike by health workers has been suspended.
After a meeting between the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) and an inter-ministerial task team led by Minister in the Presidency, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, it was decided that the strike that lasted for almost three months should be suspended.

Spokesperson for the Department of Health in the province, Tebogo Lekgethwane, told Semphete that communities should expect uninterrupted health services. 
“The situation will be restored to normality. Those on chronic medication and treatment will have medication available because deliveries of medical supplies to health facilities will happen without interruptions.
“The communities of Bokone Bophirima can expect health services in clinics and hospitals to go on with uninterrupted operating hours. Health professionals are already going back to their work stations and they are ready to serve the people,” said Lekgethwane.

He added that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which was deployed to the province a few weeks ago, is still assisting at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital. 
“The South African Military Health Services are still at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital. We anticipate that they can be recalled at any time since the strike is over, but this will only happen once a formal recall has been made by their Commanders,” he said. 
The health department is currently under Section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution following Cabinet’s decision a few weeks ago. This means that it is under the administration of the National Health Department. 
The department pleaded with all the trade unions to consider the wellbeing and safety of patients before they embark on any protest that will have a drastic impact on people’s lives.
Nehawu Provincial Secretary, Patrick Makhafane, said the unions would give the inter-ministerial task team some time to deal with the grievances raised by health workers. 
“We welcome the intervention of the task team and will give them time to do their assessments. Nehawu will continue monitoring the progress they have made on all the things they have committed to. The workers we have met are willing to return to work and we are going around the province to explain what this suspension means,” he said. 
Makhafane explained to Semphete that services would not immediately return to 100% level. “Our communities can expect some delays in certain areas such as the delivery of medication and some workers have explained that there are shortages of medical equipment such as gloves and syringes in some areas. We are expecting that by next week health services should be running at 90%”. 
Nehawu emphasised the fact that the strike has not ended, but that it has been suspended to allow the task team to do its work. 
During a visit to Ditsobotla Local Municipality last week, Dr Dlamini-Zuma thanked Bokone Bophirima Provincial Government for its cooperation with the task team. 
“They were always ready to meet with us and answer our questions. This assisted us to meet the Cabinet deadline for submission of the preliminary report,” she said.