The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Thursday called on the Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize to prioritise the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) health system – as part of his plans to fix the country’s ailing health system – which the IFP says deteriorated under former KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and former Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
The IFP said Dhlomo and Motsoaledi failed dismally to address issues facing the KZN health facilities, especially oncology, adding that they both suffered from denial of reality, which led to the unnecessary death of many cancer patients.
“We advise the newly elected Minister and MEC to avoid this grave mistake and address all issues with diligence instead of obsessing with denying the intensity and severity of problems faced by our people in public health facilities,” said the IFP.
The party called on Mkhize to visit all KZN hospitals to review working conditions and resources, particularly the Addington Hospital which has experienced serious challenges around its oncology machines.
“Mkhize must ensure that the KZN Department of Health deals with among others oncology issues, waiting times, shortage of staff, shortage of ambulances and staff attitude. He must work closely with the KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala ensuring that the KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu does not repeat the same mistakes that happened under former MEC Dr Dhlomo,” the IFP said.
The party went on to say efforts to reform health care have been hobbled by lack of clarity on goal implementation, or even by the pursuit of the wrong goal, noting that other problems in health care included poor working conditions and lack of effective and regular assessments of health workers’ satisfaction.
The party believes an intense investment in health should be prioritised.
“The government should increase funding for the health sector, while at the same time cultivating healthcare partnerships with multilateral institutions and the private sector,” the IFP notes.
However, it will be incumbent upon the KZN province to make the necessary investment in health to achieve these goals and “even more important will be the investment of political goodwill followed by concrete words beyond the rhetoric”, added the IFP.