A valid question recently asked by the EFF has placed the public medical sector in the limelight. With them asking Government if the current operating hours of clinics in the public sector are sufficient in catering to their respective communities?
On Wednesday, 7 October 2020, the Economic Freedom Fighters presented its National Health Amendment Bill to parliament.
The bill focuses on making it mandatory for public sector clinics to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In the bill, the EFF states, “Health service challenges are not limited to specific time periods and can afflict a person at any time of day or night.”
The political party further elaborates that millions of South Africans are denied their right to have access to health services as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
The EFF further says this is due to an insufficient number of health facilities being open after hours, thus denying these South Africans access to health care—should they fall sick or become injured after hours.
“People do not only get sick or suffer an injury during the day when healthcare facilities, especially clinics, are open. Many South Africans live too far from hospitals and are therefore unable to access healthcare establishments all the time. Clinics are, in most instances, the most effective health establishment to access.”
In its presentation on Wednesday, the EFF said that Section 4 (3) of the current National Health Act makes provisions for the kind of services clinics and community health centres provide, but this does not include operating hours.
Looking further at the bill, KZN Provincial Deputy Chairperson for the EFF and member of the KZN Legislature, Mongezi Twala explains this bill showcases the inefficiencies that are currently being faced.
Going on to say, “There are some people who cannot afford basic health care. But everyone has the right to life and quality healthcare. This is irrespective of whether a person lives in rural areas or the cities.”
Therefore, the bill not only allows people access to medical care around the clock; but will also see them have clinics situated closer to their respective communities.
The lack of medical infrastructure and the need to improve operating times, he says, has been brought to the forefront during the current pandemic. He explains, “COVID-19 has truly exposed how the health care sector is lacking.”
This is not the first time that the EFF has pushed for the bill, as Twala highlights. He explains the party has been pushing for it for the past three years. “People are dying, and our government does not seem to see how bad the situation is.”
With the EFF pushing for clinics to remain open throughout the day and night. As well as promoting better services, what are your thoughts?
Do you feel this will prove to be beneficial for communities throughout South Africa as a whole?
Share your opinions with us in the comment section below.
Author: Quinton Boucher
Edited: Calvin Swemmer