DA enters row over nutritional food for patients

THE DA in KwaZulu-Natal has entered the fray in the debacle over continued delays in delivering nutritional porridge packs to HIV-Aids and TB patients for the past five months.

THE DA in KwaZulu-Natal has entered the fray in the debacle over continued delays in delivering nutritional porridge packs to HIV-Aids and TB patients for the past five months.

The supplement is essential to the successful treatment of those affected by the pandemic.

It ground to a halt in December, leaving more than 100000 patients without food.

Yesterday, DA provincial leader John Steenhuisen said they had submitted parliamentary questions to provincial health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo after the department said it was not responsible for the distribution of the porridge, blaming national treasury instead.

This week the treasury agreed that it had handled the tender process and appointed a service provider for nutritional porridge, but said the province was "responsible for placing orders with the service provider" to distribute the porridge.

Steenhuisen said the health department had not fulfilled its mandate.

Shelves of the nutritional porridge in a number of hospitals and clinics in the province remain dry and the department claimed to have submitted orders for all 11 districts to the supply chain unit.

The programme was set up by the provincial department in 2006 to ensure that affected people do not take life-saving drugs on empty stomachs.

"We don't really care who is responsible - we just want the problems addressed," Steenhuisen said.

"Yet every time (department spokesperson) Chris Maxon finds the health department is in a tight corner, he backs away and resorts to denial as his first measure of defence."

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