Please find attached soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube, DA Shadow Minister of Health.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has reported the Eastern Cape Department of Health to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate the suitability of the ‘Medical Motorbikes’ that the Eastern Cape Department of Health launched on Friday the 12th of June for patient transport in the province.
It is the contention of the DA that these motorbikes are in contravention of section 27 of the Constitution which guarantees access to healthcare and prohibits the state from denying anyone access to emergency medical care.
These motorbikes are not suitable for patient transport anywhere in the country, let alone in the rural Eastern Cape with little to no road infrastructure.
This intervention by the Eastern Cape is denying access to healthcare and emergency care to those who will be confined to using this transport system.
In addition, this mode of transport for the sick, needy and the elderly is unsafe and is undignified.
Based on these reasons, this R10 million programme that the Eastern Cape government seeks to roll out across the province is in direct contravention of our Constitutionally-protected basic human rights and makes a mockery of the those who will be forced to use this mode of transport.
It is critical that the SAHRC undertakes an investigation as soon as possible before this programme is implemented in the province and lives are endangered in the process.
Furthermore, I have submitted a series of parliamentary questions to the Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, to confirm whether this mode of transport meets the basic norms and standards for patient transport; was this work done by the NDOH along with the Eastern Cape Department of Health and what the specifications were for this project.
Just yesterday, Dr Mkhize has defended these motorbikes by claiming that people have to resort to using wheelbarrows in rural areas as if that is ever an excuse to use subpar medical interventions because people have repeatedly been let down by the South African government.
The SAHRC should expedite this investigation so that we can ensure no lives are endangered in the Eastern Cape due to the use of glorified wheelbarrows as a life-saving mechanism.
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