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Playwright Arthur Miller once defined a good newspaper as “a nation talking to itself” and while we leave you, the reader, to decide whether we fit into that category, we certainly try to engage in the sort of conversations with our audience which reflect the lives, and concerns, of ordinary South Africans.
And one of the topics which regularly comes up in the conversations of ordinary people is the slow implosion of our state health services.
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Our government hospitals and clinics are often overcrowded, under-resourced and patients, sometimes at death’s door, are frequently mistreated.
The condition of medical facilities – which should, in theory be spotlessly hygienic – is often a disgrace.
It is not uncommon to see filthy floors and toilets, broken windows and doors and even bloody dressings littering floors.
Earlier this year, our reporter went undercover, with a camera, to hospitals on the East Rand to document the awful state of facilities.
The authorities promised that something would be done… but how often have we heard that in South Africa and nothing happens?
When the reporter went back this week to Edenvale Hospital, he was surprised at what had been done to address the problems he pointed out on his first visit.
This time, he was caught in the act by security personnel taking pictures – but, again to his surprise, hospital CEO Dr Zakhele Zitha, said it was OK.
READ MORE: Gauteng health department says it’s addressing challenges at Rahima Moosa hospital after doctor’s criticism
Zitha then said a number of actions had been taken to improve the physical facilities and the medical treatment at the hospital.
OR Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg has also made changes, but lags behind Edenvale… although it is a start, the first green shoots of hope, perhaps.
These are small wins but, now that civil servants know we are watching, perhaps they will up their game and remember who they work for.