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Transforming Society

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Restoring Dignity

Human Rights Commission confirms response from MEC over health concerns in KZN

July 7, 2017

“The Commission welcomes the KZN MEC’s response, received on Friday, 30 June 2017, and notes the KZN Health Department’s compliance with the first deadline for response.”

THE South African Human Rights Commission has confirmed that it has received a received a response from the MEC of Health for Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN), Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, in response to the SAHRC’s investigative report on the state of oncology and health rights in KZN.
“The Commission is studying the MEC’s report in detail and will revert with appropriate actions to be taken. The Commission welcomes the KZN MEC’s response, received on Friday, 30 June 2017, and notes the KZN Health Department’s compliance with the first deadline for response,” read a statement by the Commission.

In a report released by the Commission last month, it was found that the respondents, being Addington Hospital, Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALC Hospital), the Department of Health KwaZulu-Natal and the MEC of KwaZulu-Natal Health, had violated the rights of oncology patients at the Addington and IALC hospitals to have access to health care services as a result of their failure to comply with applicable norms and standards set out in legislation and policies.

The report also revealed that Durban’s government-run oncology services had been stripped of practitioners, with doctors leaving for the private sector because of unsatisfactory working conditions which included a lack of functioning equipment for cancer treatment. Machines worth millions of rand have been lying in a state of disrepair because of an alleged failure by the department to pay for maintenance due to contractual disputes. In its report, the commission ordered the immediate repair of faulty equipment.

Despite the response from the MEC, the Commission said it remained extremely concerned about the welfare of oncology patients at Addington Hospital as well as the patients at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALC Hospital) who are still awaiting radiotherapy treatment – some of whom have been waiting for up to seven months. The Commission said it was still waiting for additional information requested from the MEC, which is due on or before 28 July 2017, namely 30 days after the release of the SAHRC’s investigative report.

The SAHRC report garnered widespread outcry which led to the IFP and DA to call for heads to roll at the department. “The MEC has violated the rights of cancer patients in our province and we firmly believe that, in failing to dismiss him, Premier Willies Mchunu is complicit. We are continuing to explore the possibility of legal action against the MEC and officials of the department implicated in the report. We will not allow those responsible for this crisis to not be held accountable,” read a statement by the Democratic Alliance.

Source: Berea Mail

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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