Mpumalanga Health Department needs a decisive leader, not another mouth-piece

Issued by Jane Sithole, MPL – DA Spokesperson on Health: Mpumalanga Province
15 Nov 2022 in Press Releases

The DA has called on the MEC of Health in Mpumalanga, Sasekani Manzini, to not only be the departments’ spokesperson, but to stand up and take political leadership as they desperately need a decisive leader, not another mouth piece.

The DA believes that the MEC is failing the department of health in the province and not focusing on the actual issues that needs urgent attention.

The department is currently using the last approved organigram from 2010.

In 2010, the population of Mpumalanga was 3.6 million people and back then the department employed 37 000 healthcare practitioners. Twelve (12) years later, the population has increased substantially to 4.7 million, yet the department employees have decreased to 22 303 healthcare practitioners – of which 6344 were appointed abnormally.

It is a serious concern that during the above period, the population of Mpumalanga has increased with more than 26%, yet our medical staff has decreased over the same period by 49%.

The shortage of senior medical staff is evident with the Maternal Mortality rate which continues to skyrocket. In the 2021/22 Annual Report the department reported a 361/100 000 for Tertiary hospitals and 277.1/100 000 in regional hospitals.

The Annual Report states the reason as the patient presented late, however in the hospitals, it is clear that there is more to blame than just the patients. Staff attitude, long waiting times, no medicine and a lack of hospital supplies should also be stated as reasons.

Family members and patients resort to medical negligence claims to get the MEC and department officials to realise that there is a humanitarian crisis in the hospitals, but yet no one is prepared to investigate but rather waste millions in legal fees.

The Mpumalanga department of health currently has R9.5 billion of medical negligence cases. In the last financial year, the department was ordered to pay out R839 691 000. With the 839 691 000 the department could have employed approximately 1300 extra doctors or 2600 nurses or bought 1 400 much needed ambulances.

In 2020 the department of health bought 67 new ambulances for R35 000 000. Three/ two? years later the department can only afford to buy 28.

The MEC and the officials in the department needs to initiate an intensive study for the root causes of medical facilities failing.

The DA believes that If nothing is done to resolve the continuous issues with the department, the DA will call for this department to be placed under administration as the people of Mpumalanga deserves better healthcare.