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Eastern Cape Could Send Patients To Other Provinces

The Eastern Cape has an increase of almost 2000 covid-19 cases a day and a high death rate. This is a recipe for disaster for the province's health system which will most likely take a knock when the virus reaches its peak. 

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Dr Sibongile Zungu, project management unit team leader in the Eastern Cape said the Eastern Cape failed to build hospitals in time and was now looking to send patients to neighbouring provinces. 

Zungu found that regions in the Eastern Cape like Alfred Nzo, Sarah Baartman and Chris Hani do not have enough equipment and staff to take care of covid-19 patients. 

“These regions are far from tertiary hospitals, which are in Port Elizabeth, East London and Mthatha. In these areas we proposed to the provincial government [that] we rather talk to our neighbouring provinces so they can accommodate our patients and we rather just use the funds for those field hospitals to get more resources such as nurses, doctors, emergency transport and equipment,” she said.

Zungu suggested Eastern Cape patients be sent to KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and the Free State so that the province would be able to focus on employing more staff.

She also suggested for the Eastern Cape to use existing government properties as field hospitals, as the province will not have enough time to build new hospitals

“In some areas we have enough beds but do not have enough staff. We also proposed that the majority of the funds be used for staffing,” she said.

Eastern Cape premier, Oscar Mabuyane said the province could face a surge in August which will put a strain on the system. 

He also said the provincial government was concerned about the number of health care workers testing positive for covid-19.

“Our forecast is that August is the centre of the Covid-19 storm. All of us need to buckle up because we are about to enter the toughest time of our lifetime,” he said.

 

Interviewed by TimesLive

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