LIMPOPO – Having been identified as one of the two districts with the worst infrastructure in terms of its health facilities, the Vhembe district’s dilapidated hospitals are set to continue as the worst in the country.
The hospitals will continue operating from their old, outdated buildings as the Limpopo Department of Health struggles to renovate most of the facilities.
Vhembe was declared one of the 10 National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot districts by the National Department of Health and was also identified alongside the OR Tambo district as the two worst districts in the country in terms of public health.
Vhembe’s three hospitals – Tshilidzini, Elim and Siloam – were identified to be in such a state of dilapidation that the actual hospital buildings need to be completely rebuilt urgently.
But so far the department has only managed to begin with the rebuilding of Siloam Hospital, outside Sibasa, while the others remain in dire conditions, with no hope of being rebuilt in the near future.
“We have already started with the rebuilding process in Siloam, unfortunately when we were supposed to go to both Tshilidzini and Elim, the economy of the country went into distress as it is now. I am sure that everyone knows that our economy is in trouble,” said Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
The minister said about R70-million was needed for each to cover the costs of urgent renovations just to bring the hospitals into functionality while government looks for more money that will allow for the building of new structures.
“With Tshilidzini, even if we get the money which we are struggling to get, if we start now it will take us between 48 and 60 months to put a new structure, which is quite wrong. So we thought we need to renovate the hospitals to a level of functionality just for them to get functional while we battle with the issue of building a new structure,” said Motsoaledi.
The security cameras at Tshilidzini have not been working for months, putting the lives of patients at risk. Machines in the hospital theatres function erratically.
Recently Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba removed the entire management team of Tshilidzini, blaming them for failing those who depend on the hospital. During her visit to Tshilidzini, Ramathuba said that her department was considering renovating the hospital because the national department of health was taking too long to implement the rebuilding process.
Motsoaledi said provincial departments were welcomed to renovate their health facilities if they can afford it as it was not only the responsibility of the national department to rebuild or renovate the facilities.
“The lion’s share of the money was given to the provincial departments, and we have never stopped them from renovating their health facilities. We intervened because we are worried about what we see,” explained Motsoaledi.
More than R1.7-billion each is needed for Elim and Tshilidzini hospitals to be completely rebuilt. – Health-e News.