The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Monday embarked on an oversight visit at Dora Nginza Hospital as part of their programme, which will end on Wednesday and aims to advocate for quality healthcare at public hospitals and clinics in the Nelson Mandela Bay.
Dora Nginza Hospital is a large public provincial hospital located in Zwide, Port Elizabeth.
According to the party, they were visiting all the major hospitals in the Eastern Cape to ensure that the people are treated with dignity and respect.
For Monday’s visit, EFF MP, Commissar Thembinkosi Rawula, was accompanied by local EFF Councillors and supporters from the Nelson Mandela Bay Region.
“We are here to do that oversight; to see the equipment that these hospitals are using and we have been receiving a number of complains that people are dying on ques because there is no capacity in hospitals,” Rawula said.
“Every year, there is a provision given to hospitals and we want to know why we are having equipment deficiency in our hospitals while we are told that our health care has got the best instruments to take care of our people.”
He added that the aim is to expose the African National Congress (ANC) for mismanaging public health.
“We want to expose the current leadership of the African National Congress that it doesn’t care about our own people. We know the situation in these hospitals because we reside here because when we are sick, we are taken to these hospitals, we have lost fighters, families, and community members,” Rawula explained.
“Once we are done, we are going to compile a report that we will report in Parliament that from our own oversight visit, we have discovered this and that and this is what we think should be the cause of action to address those things.”
There were obvious hiccups as security guards and hospital management did not understand what was going on.
However, after a long meeting between Rawula, six EFF councillors and the CEO of the hospital, Patrick Mbulana, the oversight visit proceeded.
The EFF and local journalists managed to get a glimpse of life in the hospital wards.
A common complaint amongst the patients was that they do not eat on time and sometimes there is a shortage of food resulting to some of them not eating at all.
There was an issue of capacity as some patients were sleeping on the floor, in chairs and in corridors at the hospital.
According to the hospital’s nurses, there is a dire shortage of beds to accommodate all the patients, who are admitted at the hospital.
In some corridors, the stench from the toilets could not be missed. Several patients said several toilets had stopped flushing for weeks.
Some patients also pointed out that; “If you didn’t come with an ambulance, the nurses will not immediately attend to you despite your condition.”
Several patients were seen with drips in the waiting room as other slept in the room on chairs waiting for their turns to get attended to. Two patients in the waiting room stated that they arrived on Sunday around 9:20am and were only attended to on Monday, at around 2:30am; the other one arrived at 6:30pm on Sunday and waited until 09:45am on Monday to receive help.
64-year-old Dambile Speelman was amongst the people, who were waiting in the waiting room after his blood samples were taken. Because of shortages of beds, Dambile sat in his wheelchair with a bloody needle on his hand while he waited for his results to come back.
According to his wife who accompanied him, he was first admitted to another large public provincial hospital, Livingstone Hospital, which is located in Korsten, Port Elizabeth, before being transferred to Dora Nginza on Sunday.
Unfortunately for him, there were no ambulances available to assist him at the time, so they hired a private car, not knowing that her husband would not be attended to on time.
Relatives had to help one woman change her diapers in one of the faulty toilets after apparently waiting for hours, hoping that she would get attended to.
Another patient, who had suffered a seizure, was also lying in a chair and according to his mother, he had been lying there since Sunday afternoon and was only attended to on Monday afternoon after she literally cried for help.
However, he was still in the waiting room at the time of the oversight visit.
In the end, the EFF gathered all their reports from their observations and will prepare for the Parliamentary report.
They added that they will visit more local hospitals, namely Livingstone Hospital and Empilweni Hospital in New Brighton as well as key hospitals in Uitenhage.