EC, WC health depts explain their COVID-19 fighting efforts to MPs

The Western Cape and Eastern Cape have some of the country's highest COVID-19 infections rates and fatalities.

A row of beds at the CTICC COVID-19 field hospital. Image: Premier Alan Winde/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The Western Cape Department of Health said the data gathered about comorbidities among the province’s citizens during the current wave of COVID-19 would help mitigate against mortality from other diseases and future waves of the coronavirus.

The province’s departmental heads made presentations to Parliament’s health portfolio committee on Wednesday.

They were asked about the work they've been doing to deal with deaths caused by COVID-19 complications.

The Eastern Cape Department of Health also appeared before the committee, sharing the current status of the pandemic in that province and its plans to roll-out the vaccine when it becomes available.

Members of Parliament were armed with questions for the two provinces’ health department officials, with concerns raised about the number of deaths there and the accuracy of the data shared.

The Western Cape and Eastern Cape have some of the country's highest COVID-19 infections rates and fatalities.

READ: WC still in the peak of COVID-19 second wave – provincial health dept

The Western Cape’s head of department Keith Cloete said that they worked hard to try find every person that died of COVID-19, adding this was driven by age and comorbidities.

“Our analysis show us what it is we need to do to be able to mitigate mortalities from other diseases in the future.”

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape acting head of department Sibongile Zungu blamed the province’s challenges in dealing with the pandemic on pre-existing structural issues related to the rural nature thereof.

“Also the dwindling budget in the health sector in general affects those provinces that are not starting from the zero line. The Eastern cape province starts from a minus point.”

READ: EC lost 161 health workers to COVID-19 since March last year - Zungu

She was also questioned about the integrity of the data submitted to the national Department of Health.

MPs complained that the backlogs reflected in the national dashboard recently pointed to governance failures.

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