Dr Magome Masike, MEC for Health in the violence-torn North West, has welcomed the arrival of military medics at Mafikeng hospital because of “unprecedented pressure” on the provincial healthcare system.
According to SANews there have been disruptions in a number of health facilities and an outbreak of community protests last week further contributed to problems for the provincial health department.
“The environment has not been conducive for some of our health professionals, especially nurses, to provide uninterrupted health services as they fear for their lives,” he is quoted as saying by the government news agency.
He added the arrival of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) military health services comes “at a time of dire need for their services, skills and expertise”.
At the time of publication a defenceWeb request for more information on the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) provincial deployment remained unanswered. City Press was reporting that 40 military nurses had already been deployed at Mafikeng Hospital with another 17 expected.
The SAMHS deployment has to date seen seven doctors arrive in Mafikeng with nine more expected, according to the publication.
Another challenge for the provincial health department was the Mafikeng pharmaceutical depot. The weekly paper said the depot had now been taken over by SAMHS and chronic medication and other medical supplies were again moving.
National Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told the weekend publication that soldiers delivered 21 babies, including six by caesarean section, in the first 24 hours of their deployment.
Explaining the urgent call for assistance to SAMHS, the MEC said: “We were pushed by the need to help our people, to provide healthcare despite the volatile situation. We know military healthcare professions have been involved in peace support operations in other African countries. Their nurses provide healthcare to peacekeepers, often in resource-poor environments. Their experience is now needed in our province”.