Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla has assembled a health team made up of officials from national and provincial departments to conduct an assessment of the impact of the floods on health service delivery in KwaZulu-Natal.
The task team will also carry out an assessment of the costs of repairing the damage, to be submitted to the National Treasury for funding consideration.
According to the Ministry of Health, the task force will be led by Director General Dr Sandile Buthelezi, supported by the Head of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Health Department, Dr Sandile Tshabalala, with assistance technical infrastructure experts.
This follows a site visit by Minister Phaahla accompanied by Deputy Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane to various flood-damaged health facilities in eThekwini District tuesday.
“Based on preliminary damage costs, it is estimated that over R187,000,000.00 will be required to repair the health infrastructure, which includes 23 hospitals, 34 clinics, three community health centers and five office buildings,” said the Ministry of Health in a press release. .
The department said infrastructure had been severely damaged, which negatively impacted the delivery of general health services in six affected districts of eThekwini, Ugu, Ilembe, uMgungudlovu, King Cetshwayo and uMkhanyakude.
“Departmental experts which include engineers, architects, quantity surveyors and construction managers have rated the damage to health infrastructure as moderate compared to damage sustained in October 2017 at eThekwini.
“Most of the damage manifests itself in the form of weakened roof coverings, failing waterproofing membranes causing water infiltration, embankments and retaining wall failures.”
The department said the damage that would require capital outlays to replace all of the roof coverings and restabilization of embankments is at Newtown Community Health Center, Wentworth Regional Hospital, GJ Hospital Crookes and Justice Gizenga Mpanza Regional Hospital.
Additionally, the forensic pathology team performed 377 autopsies on the 455 bodies recovered and are left with nearly 50 bodies that would be finalized today (Wednesday).
The department appealed to families and communities to collect the remains for burial, and in the case of indigent families, they can contact the provincial government for assistance.
Meeting water challenges
Minister Phaahla also visited Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi to inspect the water supply challenge following the floods.
Work is continuing to fill the reservoir by water cistern as they are running out of stored water and are not supplied by the regular water supply.
“This is done with the support of ABSA Bank who donated 20 water tanks to help the communities. ‘hospital,’ the department said.
It is estimated that the water supply will be normalized by noon on Wednesday.
The delegation also visited the Newtown health center where service delivery has stopped.
“The delegation is committed to restoring services through the deployment of mobile facilities to ensure community access while feasibility on structural integrity is being carried out by structural engineers.”
The Minister also visited the community hall of Amaoti where the displaced people have settled to inspect the works aimed at providing the people with the necessary chronic medicines.
The provincial ministry has further pledged to send staff to communities to ensure people have access to drugs nearby.