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
May 30th 2012
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.
The Treatment Action Campaign and SECTION27 Welcome the Minister’s Health Budget Vote. But More Needs to be Done to Deliver on the Right to Health. Announce and Implement Plans Urgently!
Read the full statement by clicking “read more” below.
We support implementation of a programme of HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) for Teens … but proper planning and protection of human rights of learners is essential.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), The Yezingane Network (YN) , Equal Education and SECTION27 welcome the Department of Health’s plans to extend HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign to children 12 years and older.
SECTION27 and TAC applauds the successful ARV medicine tender – but call for continued actions to drive prices of essential medicines down further.
SECTION27 and TAC applaud the Minister of Health and his team at the Department of Health (DoH) for their part in conceptualising, implementing and concluding a successful antiretroviral (ARV) medicine tender. Announced yesterday, the 2010 tender – for the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2012 – will see the state procuring ARV medicines at or about the best prices available globally.
The Department of Health has given the go-ahead for patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART) to be given three months supply of medicines instead of one month. The TAC and SECTION27 welcome this decision. It will be more convenient for patients because they will have to make fewer trips to their health facility. It will also reduce patient-load on the health system, particularly on health facility pharmacies given the shortage of pharmacists in the public health system. In a memorandum dated 2 July 2010, the Department of Health states, “There is no indication of any legislation prohibiting the supply of medicines for three months to any one patient. This practice should only be implemented once the patient has proved stable on the regimen.”
The Budget and Expenditure Monitoring Forum (BEMF) held its third meeting on 21 May 2010. It brought together over 30 people from 10 organisations. The aim was to understand what civil society can do to ensure that the budgeting process –at the national and provincial levels– results in the appropriate allocation and use of financial resources to address health needs.
On 21 October 2008 the Labour Court handed down the judgment in the case, Naude v The member of the Executive Council, Department of Health, Mpumalanga. The court found that Naude had been unfairly dismissed, awarded him R100 000 compensation, and costs in ALP’s favour.
This is a victory for all doctors who seek to practice their professional ethically, even where it may go against government policy.
In this case the AIDS denialism of the former Minister for Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and the former MEC for Health in Mpumalanga, Sibongile Manana has once again been found to be unlawful and a violation of rights.
The AIDS Law Project (ALP) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) focus much of their work on ensuring that full and meaningful effect is given to the Bill of Rights recognition that “[e]veryone has the right to have access to … health care services” and that the “state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realization” of this right.