The cholera epidemic must be tackled by investigating management capacity at hospitals and clinics, the Democratic Alliance said on Thursday.
DA health spokesperson Mike Waters said the cholera-related death of a thirty-third person in South Africa raised the question of why some sectors of the health system were failing.
He did however applaud doctors and nurses who were treating cholera patients, especially the staff at Musina Hospital in Limpopo, where more than a hundred new cases were reported daily.
About 3 000 people in South Africa have been struck by the disease since its outbreak in November last year.
Waters said Health Minister Barbara Hogan urgently needed to conduct a comprehensive review of the way hospitals and clinics were managed and ensure that managers were appropriately qualified.
Health department spokesman Fidel Radebe said hospitals and clinics were already equipped with qualified staff to deal with the cholera outbreak.
He added that the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the World Health Organization were also offering technical support.
Radebe said the department was in addition using volunteers who were both academically qualified and experienced to deal with patients.
However, Waters pointed out that cholera was an easily curable disease and every hospital and clinic should have been able to quickly restore any infected patient to health to avoid deaths.
"Where any patient does die it suggests that basic dehydration fluid, which should be readily available in every health facility is either not available or not being administered properly or in time," he said.
"If poor management is causing South Africans to die from cholera, then any problems at these health facilities need to be addressed immediately," said Waters.
(Sapa, January 2009)