Chronic shortages of mobile clinics and staff continue to cripple Mpumalanga healthcare services

The chronic staff shortage in the Mpumalanga Health Department as well as the shortage of mobile clinics, are major contributors to many of the department’s woes.

This was confirmed by Health MEC, Gillion Mashego who said that not only is the shortage of mobile clinics a problem but also the lack of medical equipment and medicine inside the mobile clinics. Recently in Victor Khanye Municipality were found to be prescribing blood pressure medicine without testing patients as there was no blood pressure machine available.

MEC Mashego stated that the department is responsible for ensuring that mobile clinics are fully stocked to render primary health care to rural communities and those areas which are without clinics.

The analysis conducted by government to assess the need for mobile clinics in Mpumalanga shows that there is a substantial gap between the amount of mobile clinics needed and the actual amount of mobile clinics that are currently servicing the rural communities of Mpumalanga. The province needs at least 120 mobile clinics, 60 are currently operational and 24 are not in good condition and pose a risk to the healthcare officials that operate them.

To make matters worse, in 2015 the department had 110 mobile clinics and within three years the department lost 26 due to lack of maintenance, vehicles ageing and at the same time the population is growing while the department is unable to replace fleet lost.

MEC Mashego also stated that the shortage of medical personnel needed to operate the mobile clinics aggravated the problem as the department was unable to appoint the healthcare professionals needed due to budgetary constraints.

Access to medical care remains a challenge for the poor who rely solely on the public health system. MEC Mashego was unable to provide answers in terms of when the department would be purchasing more mobile clinics to allow the poorest of the poor to access basic healthcare.

The DA will visit rural communities who rely on mobile clinics across the province to assess the real state of mobile clinics and what they offer to the people in our outlying communities.

Media Enquiries

Jane Sithole, MPL
DA Mpumalanga Spokesperson on Health
082 854 9711

Dumisile Masuku
Provincial Communications Manager
079 873 7590