South Africa

KZN health facilities are returning to normal, says MEC

KZN health facilities are returning to normal, says MEC

The KwaZulu-Natal health department says hospitals, clinics and community health centres are gradually returning to normal after a week of unrest, looting and vandalism.

MEC Nomagugu Simelane provided an update in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday during one of a series of inspections to assess damage at state facilities.

“We are satisfied with the gradual return to normal working conditions at health facilities throughout the province.

“We are still calculating the real costs of the damage, but we are pleased that most staff have returned to work. The queues are a bit longer than usual, but they will grow shorter as more people are seen.

“The supply of auxiliary services such as food, oxygen and fuel continues to run smoothly, and our emergency medical services are up and running. So are our forensic pathology services.

“We are also happy that most Covid-19 vaccination sites — 192 — are up and running,” said Simelane.

She said while the Imbalenhle Community Health Centre in Pietermaritzburg had been spared, the KwaPata Clinic had one of its vehicle's windows smashed and three tyres removed, putting it on the list of hospitals and clinics that were attacked and vandalised.

“We’d like to emphasise that communities need to protect health facilities from acts of vandalism. They also need to protect our staff, and not block them from going to work because lives are lost that way.”

The province has vaccinated a total of 986,311 people, including health workers, educators and people aged 50 and over.

A total of 217,511 people aged 35 and above have been registered on the electronic vaccine data system and are scheduled to start getting vaccinated from August 1.

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