SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), supported by SECTION27, RHAP and MSF have been involved in a campaign to ensure that villagers in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape get a clinic which ensures their rights to dignity and health. Attached is a presentation…
In early December, the Mthatha medical depot – serving more than 300 medical facilities in the North-eastern region of the Eastern Cape for medical supply needs – faced severe supply and delivery disruptions of life-saving HIV and tuberculosis [TB] treatment for over 100,000 patients. Stripped of 70% of its workforce due to suspensions in a labour dispute, the faltering management of the depot collapsed and critically compounded existing stock shortages at the depot, hospitals and clinics in the area. Orders had not been processed, supplies not received and, ultimately, drugs not dispensed to patients most in need. As a result, the danger of treatment interruption for HIV and TB patients was a perilous reality.
After Section27 and the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) received pleas for help from distressed health care workers on the ground and with the consent of the responsible health authorities, MSF and TAC started a coordinated response. MSF hired a temporary workforce and cleared the backlog of drug orders by coordinating stock reception, order processing and deliveries to affected facilities. TAC set up and maintained a drug stock-out hotline and monitoring network to help prioritise essential drug delivery to clinics. The Department of Health complemented the MSF/TAC intervention by sending three experienced pharmacists to assist at the Mthatha depot. Read the full report here
After responding to a drug distribution crisis at Mthatha medical depot between 7 December and 24 January, the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières /Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is handing all activities back to Eastern Cape health authorities. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) will mobilize 25 volunteers to assist in the handover
Over the last two weeks SECTION27 together with our partners the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP), TAC, Africa Health Placements (AHP), Rural Rehabilitation South Africa (RuRESA), the Rural Doctors Association (RuDASA) and the South African Medical Association have received many reports from health care professionals and activists within the Eastern Cape who are concerned about the rapid decline in service delivery in the province.
These reports chronicle a variety of issues including non-payment of staff, drug stock-outs and shortages of basic medical supplies, and point to widespread systemic failures in the management and financing of services in the province. Although the crisis has been devastating to all types of state health facilities in the province, the impact of delayed or non-payment of critical healthcare workers and the difficulties in replacing such essential staff is even more acutely felt in rural areas, where healthcare teams are small and extremely fragile.
This briefing note for the public and the media outlines the tenuous financial position of the department, based on official internal Eastern Cape Department of Health documents that we have obtained.
Read the complete note by clicking “read more” below.