For some rural patients, hundreds of kilometres and long nights spent sleeping in the cold can stand between them and care for complicated illnesses like cancer and drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB). One Northern Cape hospital is making the journey a little easier.
In many places, care for complicated illnesses such as cancer and even DR-TB remain centralised at provincial or specialist hospitals. To reach these services, many rural patients must travel to their nearest local hospital to catch patient transport buses that will ferry them to the larger specialist or provincial hospitals farther afield for treatment.
Read: Left for dead: The shocking state of ambulances
In areas of the Northern Cape, patients seeking treatment including chemotherapy and hysterectomies must travel about 230 km from Kuruman to Kimberley for such care. These patients must arrive at Kuruman Hospital the afternoon before their bus patient transport shuttle leaves for Kimberley Provincial Hospital the next morning at 3 am.
For those already suffering from debilitating illnesses, this meant spending a cold night sleeping on the floor until now.
The John Taolo Gaetsewe Developmental Trust recently donated two park homes equipped with beds, showers and toilets to Kuruman Hospital.
"The hospital had cases where patients slept on floors and benches," said the trust's communications officer Modiri Gabaatlhole in a statement. "These desperate patients are now using the park homes."
Read: Poor service also at private hospitals
Launched in 2002 by former Minister of Minerals and Energy Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the trust funds projects in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality.
Patients can now sleep in the park homes before departing early from Kuruman Hospital or returning late from the provincial hospital to ensure they do not have to travel in the middle of the night or sleep on the floor.
Patrick Mosime regularly attends the provincial hospital for chemotherapy and said the park homes have made a big difference to him and others.
More than 165 villages surround Kuruman and the farthest villages among these can be hundreds of kilometres away from the town and only accessible via poor roads. – Health-e News.
Where are the ambulances? Where are the doctors?
Just hope you never have to go to KwaMhlanga Hospital
Fixing the South African public health sector