18/05/2018 06:50 SAST | Updated 18/05/2018 06:50 SAST

Despite National Government Takeover, Healthcare Remains Crippled As Nehawu Strike Continues In Embattled North West

Doctors and nurses are still being threatened if they arrive for work, telephone lines and ambulances are not working, and there are medicine shortages.


Despite interventions by national government to place the North West province under administration, and the placing on special leave of premier Supra Mahumapelo, the Nehawu strike at hospitals continues leaving thousands of patients without medicines and threatening doctors.

According to Times Select, there are a number of medicine shortages at Potchefstroom hospital, according to a doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity, and many "simple" anti-biotics are out of stock.

Nehawu staff members at clinics and hospitals in the province have been on strike since February.

This week, clinics reportedly remained closed in the province and nurses who wanted to work were intimidated and threatened. Doctors who continue to work are also reportedly being threatened, and ambulances and telephone lines in many clinics are out of commission.

The army has taken over the medicine depot in the province but stock has not been delivered, the doctor reportedly claimed. Protestors have also reportedly blocked the entrance to the Lehurutshe Hospital to stop pharmaceutical deliveries to the hospital.

Nursing union Denosa told Times Select that nurses are using their cellphones and torches to deliver babies at some hospitals.

This week, Nehawu threatened to shut down the province, demanding an end to the outsourcing of services in the province and end to corruption, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported. The union said it would hand over a memorandum to minister in the presidency, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is leading an inter-ministerial task team to investigate governance issues in the province, demanding a "lasting solution to the impasse".

The union also called on its members to protest on Wednesday over poor working conditions in health facilities, according to eNCA. The department of health reportedly promised that critically ill patients and emergency cases would be prioritised, but long queues faced the few nurses and doctors who arrived at work this week.