DA calls Health MEC to detail plans in response to fast approaching COVID-19 peak

SEKHUKHUNE – The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo is calling on the provincial health MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, to clarify details of the province’s plans on the approaching COVID-19 peak.

According to the DA, MEC Ramathuba last week stated that the province planned to expand the capacity in already existing hospitals rather than set up field hospitals, but no timelines were given and it remains unclear if the measures can be carried out in time for the peak of Coronavirus in the province.

The party said MEC Ramathuba further indicated that the province currently had 2000 beds, 54 ventilators and that Modimolle Hospital would become a fully dedicated COVID-19 centre with 100 ventilators.

It continued that the plan was to further upgrade existing big hospitals with 6000 beds and 351 ventilators, while district hospitals would have about 10 to 20 beds for low to medium risk patients.

Risham Maharaj, DA Limpopo Spokesperson on health, said the department failed to be proactive and use the last three months to prepare the facilities for the peak and now, there was a race against time.

Maharaj said the MEC ought to inform when the peak is expected in accordance with the modeling system in the province, the estimated number of cases the province will have at the peak and how many Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and hospital beds will be needed at the peak.

“There has been no communication regarding Limpopo’s status with regard to sufficient ventilators and oxygen as we enter this testing time as a province. MEC must also give an update and plans to mitigate the risk of healthcare personnel shortages that could further be compounded by large number of healthcare workers that continue to test positive for COVID-19,” said Maharaj.

Maharaj said MEC Ramathuba and her department needed to keep the health portfolio committee informed on developments and progress with regard to the province’s response to COVID-19 to allow for effective oversight.

Thapelo Motseo

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