SA Military Health Service still in North West


The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) deployment in the North West, part of Operation Prosper to assist other government department and agencies, has been extended until further notice.

The assistance provided by SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) personnel since April in the troubled province was originally due to end on 8 July. “A new instruction was subsequently issued keeping elements of the defence force deployed at Mafikeng Hospital while 10 SA Infantry Battalion will continue to assist with protection and also continue its sewage removal tasking,” Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton, Senior Staff Officer, Operational Communications at SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Joint Operations Division, said.
“There are currently 146 uniformed personnel deployed in North West and they are gradually scaling down, handing work and medical facilities back to provincial health personnel.”

Apart from protection and guarding duties, 10 SAI soldiers are performing an essential public health function in six towns and settlements where sewage plants have failed. Five nightsoil vehicles manned by soldiers are collecting and removing raw sewage in Lichtenburg, Blydeville, Boikhotso, Itsoeng, Coligny and Biesiesvlei on a daily basis.

Since the arrival of the maroon berets in North West, SAMHS medical personnel and nurses temporarily deployed to Mafikeng Hospital have assisted in the birth of 1 677 babies and seen and diagnosed more than eight thousand patients. Additionally they have consulted, diagnosed, assisted and prescribed for 2 910 paediatric patients, 3 402 orthopaedic patients and attended to 368 neo-natal cases. A dialysis machine, repaired by SAMHS personnel, has ensured treatment for 1 339 patients.

SAMHS pharmacists and assistants filled 31 390 prescriptions totalling 105 039 items to date in their stint at the province’s major medicine depots, part of the Mafikeng hospital campus.