Limpopo hospitals in a sick condition
PATIENTS needing X-rays at Lebowakgomo Hospital in Limpopo have been suffering because the X-ray machine is broken.
The X-ray machine has been dysfunctional since November last year, making it difficult for orthopaedic surgeries to be done.
Lebowakgomo Hospital is one of several in the province affected by a serious shortage of medical equipment that endangers the lives of patients.
Limpopo and Gauteng are struggling to pay service providers on time for the maintenance of critical equipment, leading to delays in diagnosing illnesses, ascertaining the true nature of injuries and deciding on appropriate methods of treating them.
The health departments in Gauteng and Limpopo have been placed under the administration of the national Department of Health.
At Lebowakgomo the X-ray film processors used to develop images are in a state of disrepair, while a mobile X-ray machine used to assess vulnerable patients has also not been working for the past two weeks.
The situation is similar to that being experienced at Letaba Hospital near Tzaneen, where the X-ray department has been closed, leaving patients unattended to because the radiography machines had not been serviced for the past two years.
Kgapane Hospital in Modjadjiskloof is also experiencing shortages of basic infrastructure such as beds and X-ray machines, while at Zebediela Hospital outside Polokwane, new babies can only be bathed in cold water because of a broken geyser.
The DA, through its shadow minister of health Patricia Kopane, has called on Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to answer for the equipment shortages.
Kopane said yesterday that she would visit hospitals in Limpopo today to assess equipment and personnel shortages.
"The provision of quality basic healthcare services is essential if we are to offer all South Africans the opportunity to live lives that they value," Kopane said.
" Minister Motsoaledi needs to answer for the equipment shortages."
Limpopo health department spokesman Phuti Seloba conceded that there was a serious problem with hospital equipment.
But he said maintenance and the repair of th e X-ray machines was being attended to.
"But, currently, if there's any emergency in any of the affected hospitals we do take the patients to the other nearest hospitals [where the needed equipment is working]," he said.
Regarding payment snags he said: "In most cases - when we require companies to submit adequately completed documents - we find that the documents still have outstanding information.
"But it's something we are busy dealing with, in conjunction with our supply chain personnel. - firstname.lastname@example.org