This follows attempts by the Eastern Cape health department to hide and obscure the facts of the hopelessly inadequate health care that Mrs Mfengwana had been receiving, in an article in your paper this week (“Zille’s health ‘refugee'”, March 27).
The article reported that at least nine doctors had allegedly attended to Mrs Mfengwana and quotes Livingstone Hospital’s senior medical superintendent, Dr Robyn May, as saying that no definite diagnosis had yet been made, and that there had been no positive findings from the clinical examination that Mrs Mfengwana is said to have received. Why is it that the first doctor who saw her at Khayelitsha Hospital was able to reach a conclusive diagnosis verification, while a phalanx of physicians conducting a battery of tests at Livingstone were not able to? I don’t wish to cast aspersions on the doctors’ competency; perhaps they were under-resourced or lacked the right equipment. Nonetheless this would speak to the issue of a collapsing health care system in Eastern Cape.
I was amazed to read Eastern Cape health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo’s explanation that the transfer was “not because of poor service in Eastern Cape but because the family had requested that their mother be treated at a hospital closer to them”.
Oh really? How could Mrs Mfengwana be closer to her family in Cape Town when her sister, daughter and other family members are in Eastern Cape? This was a callous statement which trivialised the serious condition Mrs Mfengwana was in when she was transferred.
I suggest that the public and the Eastern Cape provincial government stop side-stepping the real issue by focussing on red herrings and obfuscation. The public health and education systems in Eastern Cape are in meltdown and have been for many years. That province is rapidly on its way to becoming a failed state. The poor and those most dependent on state services will be the hardest hit.
We need to deal with the elephant of shamefully poor service delivery under ANC administrations, no matter how raw a nerve it touches.