Image Credits: Times Live
Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo will on Monday square up to the South African Human Rights Commission‚ which last year slated his department for its failure to provide adequate cancer treatment for the province’s sick.
In a report‚ the commission found that the department had “violated the rights” of cancer patients at two facilities under investigation‚ largely because of a lack of working equipment and staff shortages.
Last month the commission criticised Dhlomo’s department for its slow response to the problems‚ despite the report having been issued being more than 10 months ago.
“Ten months later and after many exchanges of correspondence and meetings with the KZN provincial department of health‚ the commission remains concerned at the lack of meaningful progress. The commission has noted the numerous reports that many cancer patients still lack access to timely and appropriate oncology health care and that some may have already died‚” the statement‚ issued in April‚ read. As a result‚ the commission said it had issued Dhlomo a notice to appear before it “to produce certain information and documentation as well as answer questions under oath that will be posed to him to enable the commission to decide on what action to take in order to positively impact on this undesirable situation”.
Speaking to the media ahead of his budget speech last week‚ Dhlomo said he was prepared to meet with the commission to explain the challenges - most of which‚ particularly those involving cancer machines‚ he said were out of the department’s hands.
He admitted that the commission might not agree that the repair of the oncology machines “is a variable that is beyond your capacity”‚ but that this would be discussed at the hearing.
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