HOSPERSA ALARMED BY LIMPOPO CLINIC WATER CRISIS
24 March 2017
The Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) is alarmed by recent reports of the water crisis at Lesedi Clinic in Lephapane, Limpopo. It was reported that the clinic has been operating without water for four months after the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) deemed the water undrinkable. Hospersa is appalled by the Limpopo Department of Health’s handling of this crisis which infringes on the basic human rights of access to water and sanitation of both the staff members and the patients at the clinic.
According to reports, the clinic has been operating without water for four months after the NHLS found that the water supply at the clinic was infested with thousands of bacteria and deemed undrinkable. It was also reported that the local Department of Health has distanced itself from addressing this crisis, stating that the water supply at the clinic does not fall under their responsibility.
“Hospersa is shocked to learn that the Department [of Health (DoH)] has washed its hands in the face of the crisis,” said Hospersa Limpopo Provincial Secretary, JJ Mashego. “It is unacceptable to shift blame to another state-owned entity whereas the existing problem affects its portfolio of work. The Department should be at the forefront when it comes to these matters, as it poses a direct threat to its mandate for delivering health care service to the Lephapane community,” he added.
Reports have also mentioned that staff members at the clinic have had to bring their own water from home and there are concerns about the patients’ needs in cases of emergency where water is needed. Hospersa members at the clinic have confirmed these reports and said that even the clinic’s water tank is situated too far from the clinic’s building to offer any relief when it has been filled. This forces Hospersa members to walk all the way to this tank to get containers of water for the clinic.
“Hospersa is appalled that more than twenty years into our democracy we still have people without access to water and sanitation, especially at critical premises like clinics,” said Mashego. “This deliberate violation of the human rights of patients and staff members needs to be addressed urgently and effectively. We urge the Limpopo Department of Health to take full responsibility in addressing the water crisis at the clinic with both the Mopani District and the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation. Addressing the country’s water crisis should not just end when the dams are full. Access to water as a basic human right should be prioritised by all state-owned entities and not seen as a rainbow chasing exercise after the rain has come and gone,” Mashego concluded.
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For interviews please contact Hospersa Limpopo Provincial Secretary JJ Mashego on 083-657-6626
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