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    RHAP Statement on North West Health Emergency ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE IN NORTH WEST PROVINCE REMAINS UNDER SIEGE DESPITE APPOINTMENT OF NATIONAL TASK   Demands by 70 North West doctors for “The National Department of Health to guarantee both patients’ and health care workers’ safety when receiving and delivering services” has not been met one week after Open Letter. 3 May 2018                                                                                                                                 While it may seem as if the worst of the riots in the North West Province has passed, following a climax of protest and violence over the past two weeks, the situation is all but stable with continued reports of patients left unattended and worse, as reported by a doctor yesterday: “Protestors in Tshepong theatre. They are forcing staff out. We have 3 cases pending in theatre but we are unable to continue working in theatre. We are getting out.” The Open Letter  by 70 doctors indicated the depth and breadth of the problems facing North West Province healthcare services. Much needs to be done to ensure safe access to healthcare is restored for patients. Some doctors have been quoted earlier in the week as saying: “How do we work when we don’t have nurses on duty? Patients are coming to knock on our doorsteps looking for help which is putting our families at risk”. Another doctor laments: “Our registrars and interns are still in the hospital but they have taken all our nurses.” While one doctor says that peace and quiet has returned at his facility after a morning of violent protest action, another responds, “but it means that we are not sure whether the service will be back to normal tomorrow. In essence, we must just wait and see.” Today a rural doctor expressed concerned that “due to the uncertainty, from the remote areas we cannot send patients” upwards to higher levels of care. While the National Task Team, consisting of various Ministries including Health, Finance and the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster is expected to submit a report with recommendations next week, which will certainly looking into short and long term interventions, more is needed immediately now to meet the 70 doctors plea for “The National Department of Health to guarantee both patients’ and health care workers’ safety when receiving and delivering services.” Questions to the National Task Team: What measures are in place for health users requiring emergency treatment during the protest action if facilities in close proximity, are closed? What security measures are in place for both healthcare users and workers? Security services are not optimal to ward off mob protestors who enter facilities. Six hospitals in the province refer to a regional hospital in Klerksdorp – uncertainty of planned patient transport and the situation at the referral hospital makes for a delay in access to treatment. How will this be circumvented? When will each hospital management be able to access feedback from the meeting and filter this information down to the clinical teams? What is the identified action plan for health service delivery in the province in a constrained and unprotected working environment? Will the task team develop and share a communication plan with all stakeholders (healthcare workers, patients and civil society)? Will the Minimum Level Service Agreement (MLSA) be reviewed in order to protect patients’ healthcare during times of industrial action? We further reiterate the recommendation by the Rural Health Advocacy Project to have civil society representatives on the task team and for the process to be transparent. While health allocations will rightfully be under scrutiny, we draw attention to the loss of 1299 health posts between 2015 and 2017 due to ‘austerity measures’ and call upon a process that prioritises critical health posts to ensure access to healthcare for all. Critical health posts are not limited to doctors posts and referral centres in densely populated regions. Special attention should be given to most vulnerable groups such as rural communities in the deprived parts of the province. For comment: Samantha Khan-Gillmore Knowledge Manager, Rural Health Advocacy Project Email: Cell: 083 3788 120   Representing doctors from the North West Province Dr Desmond Kegakilwe Cell: 082 960 7571 Dr Ebrahim Variava Cell: 084 302 6059 RHAP Statement with Doctors NW Crisis to NTT (3)

    The post RHAP and Doctors Statement on NW crisis to National Task Team appeared first on RHAP.

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    What is your take on the NHI Bill? The NHI Bill is an attempt to address the inequalities in accessing healthcare across South Africa.The release of the NHI Bill for public comment is a significant milestone in the transformation of the South African health sector.  If framed and implemented equitably and accessibly, the NHI could well be South Africa’s answer to the achievement of universal health access. Read more here          

    The post The NHI Bill is Open for Public Comment appeared first on RHAP.

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    Statement on the SAHRC and NMF Dialogue On 5 July 2018, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), together with the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) convened a national dialogue resulting in the Braamfontein Statement, on the impact of the protest and industrial action on the right to access health services in South Africa. This dialogue emerged following requests from civil society and RHAP in particular, to assess the impact of the industrial action in the health sector in the North West province during April and May this year. Labour, Health and civil society were duly represented across many sectors and disciplines with the lone missing voice being the NEHAWU NW provincial and national leadership. The dialogue would have been an opportune moment for the leadership to provide insights and responses to the myriad questions raised at the dialogue. In his opening comments at the dialogue, the chairperson of the SAHRC, Advocate Bongani Majola set the tone for the day by stating categorically that “the exercise of one right should not limit the exercise of other rights”. During the strike action, which resulted in many facilities being closed down and this impacted on communities’ ability to access health services, RHAP was following the activities closely on the ground through our partner organisation, the Rural Doctors Association of South Africa (RuDASA) and other concerned healthcare workers. Several communication pieces emanated during that period including the Open Letter from over 70 doctors in the North West demanding that facilities be opened and our letter to the SAHRC requesting urgent intervention into the escalating health crisis. In addition, RHAP wrote a joint statement with the doctors in the North West to the Task Team, requesting timely intervention. It became apparent that a strike of this nature and magnitude is not beneficial to any community and should not recur. The Dialogue was an opportunity to bring voices together, discuss what will work best during protest action and more importantly, assess what a positive, successful strike or protest action will look like with all stakeholders rights’ promoted and protected. The Ministerial Task Team is working feverishly in the province to rectify past administrative errors and ensure that the province is in good standing. However, one of the overwhelming themes to emerge from the dialogue was the lack of communication between stakeholders and that this requires urgent remedy. It became evident that there could be no meeting of the minds without sound communication. The Dialogue resolved to have many more such dialogues including one in the North West, which was the principal reason for this dialogue. The stakeholders at the dialogue resolved to commit to the following: Affirm the right to protest at health care facilities; Affirm the right of access to health care; Commit to exploring how protest action at healthcare facilities can protect and develop healthcare rights; Further commit to a continuing process which will include engagement at the highest and the lowest levels of the public health sector; and Support the formalisation of a Minimum Service Level Agreement for the sector.   For more information please contact: Samantha Khan-Gillmore Manager: Knowledge Management Rural Health Advocacy Project Tel: 083 3788 120  

    The post Statement on the SAHRC/NMF Dialogue appeared first on RHAP.

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