SABC News - Rural health care still a challenge :Friday 25 September 2015

Rural health care still a challenge

Friday 25 September 2015 18:30

Tumelo Machogo

Lack of infrastructure development, equipment and medicine have been identified as major contributors to rural health care in crisis.(SABC)

Access to healthcare remains a challenge in rural areas of South Africa. Rural health practitioners are meeting in Dullstroom to discuss contributory factors to compromised health care especially in far flung areas.

Among the identified factors is lack of resources and mismanagement of the health centres. Lack of infrastructure development equipment and medicine have been identified as major contributors to rural health care in crisis.

Doctors from across the country want a conducive working environment in rural areas. A demand if met will lead to health practitioners spending considerable time caring for the sick in rural areas.

Rural Doctors Conference Organiser, Dr Mosa Moshabela says, "They are concerned about their ability to provide the level of care that all the patients deserve. So they want to make sure they have enough resources to actually provide [services]… they don’t want to run out of medication. They don’t want to be strained to a point where patients are not seen. They want to make sure that whenever patients are attended to... all the needs and services provided. The whole package needs to be provided and it needs to be provided with a level of good quality."

Dr Hennie Hamilton has worked in rural KwaZulu-Natal for 18 years. "The biggest challenge for us is housing; I am talking for northern KwaZulu-Natal, the hospital where I’m working. Medication is also essential… medication that is needed for patients that’s a real challenge for us," says Hamilton.

Dr Ndiviwe Mphothulo says, "There are four problems facing South African health system. A problem of HIV/AIDS, problem of
maternal, natal and infants deaths, a problem of injuries in violence and chronic diseases. Now on top of those four problems, the rural health system is also facing a problem of shortage of human resources."

The conference which seeks to find lasting solutions to challenges faced by rural health practitioners ends on Saturday.

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