Catholic Bishops decry dysfunctional mobile clinics

14 November 2017 - 10:23
By Bongani Mthethwa
KZN Mobile Clinic leaving. File photo
Image: Facebook/MST Group KZN Mobile Clinic leaving. File photo

The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has asked the SA Human Rights Commission to investigate the breakdown of mobile clinic systems in KwaZulu-Natal‚ North West and Limpopo.

SACBC chairman Bishop Abel Gabuza said in a statement on Tuesday that the health department had done a good job introducing mobile health services in remote rural areas.

“However‚ in some rural areas‚ the mobile service system is dysfunctional and ineffective in addressing health needs of rural communities‚” he said.

Gabuza said the delivery problems included drug shortages‚ capacity issues and poorly located mobile sites.

The bishops are also concerned about the unavailability of mobile clinics in some areas — sometimes for more than two months‚ especially during the rainy season‚ when roads and bridges are in a bad state.

“There are‚ for example‚ three communities (Nkotswi in Limpopo‚ Hlambanyathi in KwaZulu-Natal‚ Ophondweni in KwaZulu-Natal) where mobile clinics are unavailable for weeks - and sometimes months - during rainy season because of low bridges. During rainy season‚ the low bridges remain over-flooded for several weeks‚ rendering the road unpassable for mobile clinics‚” said Gabuza.

He said there are also places in Limpopo where farm workers allege that farm owners have policies that restrict their access to mobile services.