by Isak Fritz, MPL – DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
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Date: 22 June 2018
The DA calls on the Health MEC, Fufe Makatong, to restore dignity to the hundreds of sick and physically disabled residents of the Northern Cape who have been rendered immobile due to the province’s wheelchair backlog.
Kimberley Hospital Complex currently has a waiting list for 922 wheelchairs but only has a budget of R1 million for 2018/2019 for the procurement of wheelchairs. This is not sufficient to address the current backlog. It is also not adequate to address the Northern Cape’s growing need for wheelchairs, which sees up to 80 new applications for wheelchairs being received each month.
It is tragic that some patients who are placed on the waiting list must wait up to three years for wheelchairs and other assistive devices.
This is three years of patients’ lives lost to immobility. Three years spent lying around at home, unable to access clinics, schools, places of work, church and even family gatherings.
This is the heartbreaking reality. It is, however, an avoidable reality.
With proper planning and sound financial management, the Health Department can eradicate the province’s wheelchair backlog. The DA calls on Makatong to do more to ensure that people with physical disabilities have access to assistive devices, including wheelchairs, which have the potential to immediately boost their quality of life. This will not break the bank and is a quick-fix solution to restore human dignity in the lives of hundreds of citizens.
The failure by the ANC-government to procure enough wheelchairs is a massive and intolerable service delivery failure.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure equality of access for everyone who needs a wheelchair.
Isak Fritz, MPL
DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
083 395 2737
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387