Saturday, October 1 2022

The Ministry of Health has acknowledged that the public health system is struggling in some areas to meet the health needs of citizens and reduce backlogs due to the unpredictable number of undocumented migrants seeking health services, other than asylum seekers and refugees.

However, the department has urged healthcare workers to uphold high moral obligations in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath, as well as South Africa’s National Health Act and Refugee Act.

This follows comments from Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramatuba in a video clip recorded at Bela Bela Hospital.

In a video circulating the internet, the MEC tells a migrant patient that illegal Zimbabweans were straining the provincial health system when she told him she spoke Shona.

“You know that Mnangagwa [President Emmerson Mnangagwa] don’t give me money to operate on you guys… You are killing my health system,” the MEC told the Zimbabwean woman.

In a statement on Wednesday, the department said it did not have the full context of the video conversation between the MEC and the patient, making it difficult to draw immediate conclusions.

“This issue is one of the topics discussed in bilateral and multilateral meetings at SADC level to find a lasting solution.”

Meanwhile, the department has acknowledged that Limpopo is one of the affected provinces.

“Despite these challenges, health care workers must ensure that they maintain high moral obligations and standards in their work, in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath, as well as national health law and the law on refugees from South Africa.”

“This does not mean that all services are free, as only primary health care services are provided free of charge, but higher levels of care are chargeable.”

According to the ministry, Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla is currently out of the country. Acting Health Minister Angie Motshekga has instructed the department to gather all the necessary information, which will enable her to provide Phaahla with a full report upon her return. –


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