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Three Gauteng public hospitals and 71 clinics have run out of diesel in the last year, causing service delivery delays, water shortages, thefts, equipment damage and fridge failures.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo Ralehoko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
The Jubilee, Bheki Mlangeni, and Far East Rand hospitals ran out of diesel, as well as 20 Tshwane clinics and 51 clinics in the West Rand.
The MEC blames the shortages of diesel on load-shedding and gives the following effects when diesel runs out:
• Fridge failures which lead to non-adherence to cold chain processes and faulty fridges.
• Generators being damaged.
• Damage to lTC equipment.
• Increase in theft and losses.
• Telephone lines and Network connectivity affected.
• Services delivery delayed (mainly night duty).
• Water tankers can‘t pump water to facilities due to load-shedding and diesel shortage.
The annual diesel budget for the 2022/23 financial year which ends on 31 March was R142 million, but R148 million had already been spent by 30 January 2023.
It is inexcusable that so many hospitals and clinics have run out of diesel, causing suffering to patients and damaging equipment that will need to be repaired at extra cost.
The MEC also needs to explain why Tshwane and West Rand clinics ran out of diesel but not clinics in other areas.
The way forward is to ensure an adequate budget for diesel supply, and fast-tracking the installation of solar power so that hospitals and clinic are less reliant on erratic Eskom electricity supply.
Issued by Jack Bloom MPL - DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC