Health services have been severely affected in parts of the controversial Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality in the Free State.
On Monday morning, residents embarked on violent protests in parts of QwaQwa, demanding water, among other services.
The Free State Department of Health’s acting spokesperson, Elke de Witt, said its services have been adversely affected.
“Due to roads being barricaded, staff at health facilities in the area have not been able to attend to their official duties.
“Currently, 94% of primary health-care facilities in Maluti-A-Phofung are not operational. The regional hospital, Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli, has significant numbers of staff not on duty, while the district hospital, Elizabeth Ross, reported that 75% of its staff did not report for duty,” said De Witt.
To assist clients and patients, the department, police and other role players have agreed to work together.
De Witt said health facilities would scale down in-patient arrivals and critical areas such as casualty, maternity, theatres and ICUs.
“To ensure patient transport, the police will escort ambulances on affected roads leading to district and regional hospitals. Air ambulance services will support the district with referrals.
“District health services in surrounding towns will render support by providing medical officers to strengthen after-hour services at Thebe Hospital in Vrede.”
The department promised to monitor the situation closely and would work with its partners in the provincial government to assist members of the community, De Witt added.
It has called on residents to give access to healthcare workers to carry out their duties as well as allow ambulances and emergency vehicles access to healthcare facilities and to attend to emergencies.