It is estimated that it will cost government as much as R185 million to rebuild and repair health facilities in Kwazulu-Natal that have been damaged by last week’s devastating floods, the Department of Health said on Tuesday.
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla and his deputy, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, as well as KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu visited eThekwini on Tuesday to assess several clinics and hospitals that have been affected by floods.
At least more than 430 people have died due to the floods that have caused extensive damage to public infrastructure, including schools, health facilities, police stations and courts.
There has also been huge damage to infrastructure which negatively impacted general health service delivery in the six affected districts of eThekwini, Ugu, Ilembe, uMgungudlovu, King Cetshwayo and uMkhanyakude.
R185 million to repair health facilities
The Department of Health said the estimated R185 million would be used to repair 23 hospitals, 34 clinics, three community health centres and five office buildings.
Phaahla also constituted a health team of national and provincial departments officials to urgently conduct an impact assessment of the floods on health service delivery in KZN, together with the costs to repair the damages to submit to Treasury for funding consideration.
The task team would be led by the department’s director-general Dr Sandile Buthelezi, supported by the provincial head of the Department for Health, Dr Sandile Tshabalala, with the help of technical infrastructure experts.
“Departmental experts who include the Engineers, Architects, Quantity Surveyors and Construction Managers have classified the damage to health infrastructure as moderate compared to the damages experienced in October 2017 in eThekwini.
“Most damages manifest in the form of weakened roof coverings, failed waterproofing membranes causing water ingress, embankments and retaining wall failures.
“The damages that would require capital expenditure to replace the entire roof coverings and embankment re-stabilisation are in Newtown Community Health Centre, Wentworth Regional Hospital, GJ Crookes Hospital and Justice Gizenga Mpanza Regional Hospital,” the department said in a statement.
At the same time, the department announced that the Pathology Forensic Team had completed 377 post-mortems of the 455 bodies recovered and is left with close to 50 bodies, which would be finalised on Wednesday.
“The department calls on families and communities to collect the remains for burial, and in case of indigent families they may contact the provincial government for assistance.”
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe