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High Court ruling on lifesaving treatment for a foreigner a 'death sentence'

The court found the 39-year-old Ethiopian woman does not have the necessary documents to verify her refugee status in this country.

FILE: The hospital providing Alem Ereselo with treatment has been ordered by the High Court to cease medication in accordance with the Health Department’s policy on foreign nationals.  Picture: Pexels.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for Human Rights will be challenging a recent High Court decision that a foreign national cannot continue lifesaving treatment in South Africa’s public hospitals.

The court found the 39-year-old Ethiopian woman does not have the necessary documents to verify her refugee status in this country.

It took Home Affairs nearly a decade to grant Alem Ereselo refugee status. Ereselo is battling end-stage kidney failure and requires long-term chronic dialysis.

The hospital providing her treatment has been ordered by the High Court to cease medication in accordance with the Health Department’s policy on foreign nationals.

Jessica Lawrence from Lawyers for Human Rights said they would challenge the decision.

“The constitutional challenge would be on the basis of the right to life, the right to equality and the right to dignity.”

Lawrence said the High Court’s judgment amounts to a death sentence.

While the organisation will find the means to speed up Ereselo’s refugee status, Lawrence believes it’s still the Health Department’s responsibility to preserve human life at all costs.

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