No longer will Newcastillians continue to remain silent. Armed with placards, community members rallied outside Newcastle Hospital on Thursday morning, March 28.
Their mission is a simple one. This is the day where residents demand the emergency services be returned to the hospital.
Dr Imran Keeka, MPL and Democratic Alliance KwaZulu-Natal Health spokesperson, elaborates, “The services at Newcastle Hospital were removed a few years back, with the hospital now being a mother and child centre. However, mothers and children from Madadeni and oSizweni have died on their way to the hospital.”
Just as mothers in labour from Madadeni, oSizweni, Blaauwbosch are suffering to get to Newcastle in time, so are Newcastillians feeling the brunt.
As Madadeni Provincial Hospital assists those in times of emergencies, trauma or other medical conditions, many Newcastle residents are finding it difficult to get to the hospital in time.
“The emergency room here in Newcastle doesn’t offer the full emergency services,” emphasises Dr Keeka.
Handing a petition with over 4000 signatures, a petition was handed to Newcastle Hospital’s management team.
Dr Keeka explains the Newcastle community want a Central Health Clinic to assist with health care and to see full emergency services re-established at Newcastle Hospital.
“We hope the government will not ignore the people who signed the petition and make up a large part of the Newcastle community,” says. Keeka
What does the community say?
Winkie Zulu of Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) says the government initially promised citizens health care facilities within their respective areas. “But now they have taken the services away from Newcastle and sent them to Madadeni. It is costly for everyone. I, myself, have to get four different forms of transport to get to the Madadeni Hospital and back.”
Asia Kasim, another member of the community who attended the demonstration, explains the artery going to her heart is damaged and she requires the use of an oxygen tank on a permanent basis to breath.
“I cannot manage to get to the Madadeni Provincial Hospital and back. The ambulances cannot always transport me with my oxygen tank. Sometimes, Madadeni Provincial Hospital gets my medication wrong and I have to go back.”
Because of the strain of her medical condition, if Newcastle Hospital offers its former services, she will not need to endure the trauma she is currently facing.
Rita Ramsoonder adds that her husband had a heart attack and because of the distance to Madadeni Hospital, he had a second heart attack en-route to the hospital. “But because it is so far, we first needed to hire a vehicle to take us.”
Noleen van Blerk says for the unemployed, the situation is
terrible. “We don’t have the money to always get to the hospital. It is too far
and we can’t be stranded at nights,” she vents.
Furthermore, van Blerk says the distance also jeopardises people’s health. “This is not fair for anyone. People are dying,” she adds.
Other complaints revolved around the inability for the elderly to gain quick access to healthcare, especially in times of emergencies and to get medication.
Newcastle Hospital was unable to comment at the time of publication.
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