22 May 2018

SAHRC overseeing HIV patients' transfer to public health facilities

The closure of an NGO in Moutse, Limpopo, means that HIV positive patients will have to be absorbed by public health facilities.

The South African  Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will be monitoring the readiness of public health facilities in Moutse before the Department of Health begins the process of transferring HIV patients from the Ndlovu Care Group into public health facilities of their choice.  

SAHRC commissioner Victor Mavhidula said this was necessary in order to avoid another Life Esidimeni crisis, and so all health facilities will have to be properly ready before the transfer can take place.

The Department of Health has not renewed its contract with the Ndlovu Care Group and is now planning to absorb all the patients into the public health facilities. This decision led to a dispute between the two parties. The department has given Ndlovu Care Group three months to hand over the list of patients who will have to now start collecting their medication from local public health facilities.

Infrastructure will be monitored

Earlier this week the Department of Health and Ndlovu Care Group met and signed a memorandum of understanding, and the SAHRC will monitor its implementation. It was agreed that the Health Department will have to approach the office of health standards compliance to assess the state of readiness of health care facilities in Moutse that will have to accomodate patients from Ndlovu Care Group.

Mavhidula said, “We have to make sure that everything is ready before the patients can be moved. The mediation went well and all that is left is for the two parties to implement what was agreed on. The infrastructure in public health facilities will be monitored to make sure that they are ready to accommodate patients who will be transferred to them and patients should only be transferred to a public health facility of their own choice.”

Department of Health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said they welcome the outcomes of the mediation.

Community worried about public facilities 

It has been reported that patients have little confidence in the ability of the public health care system to look after their health needs.

The Limpopo department of health will no longer fund centres and non-profit organisations providing services to HIV patients across the province because the system is costing too much. This decision has necessitated the closure of the Ndlovu Care Group, a private medical non-profit organisation.

Ndlovu Care Group is an NGO which distributes ARVs to HIV positive patients in Moutse near Groblersdal in Sekhukhune. Currently they roll out ARVs to 3 501 patients in the Moutse area. – Health-e News.

Image credit: iStock