Sama: Ongoing violence putting extra strain on medical facilities

The association said it had asked the national and provincial health departments to boost security at all medical facilities.

Police make people lie on their stomachs after finding them looting inside a store in Hillbrow. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/ Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN/ DURBAN - The South African Medical Association (Sama) on Thursday said it was working hard to ensure the necessary support was provided to healthcare workers caught up in the anarchy sweeping parts of the country.

Health services have been affected and medical facilities have come under even more strain due to a sharp rise in trauma cases stemming from the violence.

The association said it had asked the national and provincial health departments to boost security at all medical facilities.

It's also in talks with a number of organisations to ensure food, medicines and fuel supplies to hospitals are not compromised, but with the closure of parts of the N3 Highway, one of the country's busiest road freight arteries, the organisation fears supply issues will arise.

Association officials have met with the SA Petroleum Industry Association, which has agreed to prioritise fuel sales to healthcare workers.

COVID-19 vaccination sites in volatile areas have had to be shut. Posing another setback to the inoculation campaign.

Meanwhile, health authorities in Kwazulu-Natal said violent protests and looting in the province was starting to negatively affect some health-care facilities.

Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu held a briefing on Wednesday night in light of recent events.

READ MORE: KZN Health Dept: Vehicles being barred from delivering oxygen for COVID-19 patients

Simelane-Zulu said over the past three days, many staff members had been unable to report for duty because access routes were blocked.

She said despite this, they've had to cater for an increased number of trauma patients, and some of those participating in the ongoing looting had suffered burns, stabbing, gunshot wounds, while others had been run over by motor vehicles.

“It does not help anyone to burn down a clinic or a hospital. And should a hospital or a clinic be burned down, government will not be able to afford in the next few years to rebuild any of those facilities because there is no money," she said.

She said many health facilities had enough food to last them for the next few days.

However, they are concerned that they could soon run out of day-to-day staples like bread, milk and fuel if the violence does not stop.

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