The Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa has lashed out at the North West department of health for its poor handling of fire incidents, which have hit two health facilities in the Christiana area.
This week, the Christiana Town Clinic burnt down, while Christiana Hospital has been closed since last year’s fire. The union has vowed to take the department to task for its alleged “snail-pace approach” in restoring primary health care services.
The clinic was providing medical services and accommodating patients who would ordinarily be serviced by Christiana Hospital, which caught fire in September last year. On 17 December, the department announced services at Christiana Hospital would be restored, with additional capacity by 20 December, 2021.
“Six months later, Christiana Hospital remains closed and patients are being referred to hospitals that are more than 60km away,” said union chair Thandi Mogakabe. Staff members are still deployed to facilities far away .
“The department has failed the people of Christiana,” Mogakabe said. “The recent clinic fire has collapsed public health services in the area.”
MEC for health Madoda Sambatha sent a team of executive managers to assess the state of the clinic, which was destroyed by fire on Monday evening.
“The incident occurs at a time when we are in the process of finalising procurement of Parkhomes, which are to serve as temporary structure until the hospital is rebuilt,” said Sambatha.
“The first immediate intervention is to avail a mobile clinic which will be stationed next to where the clinic was.”