The Pan-African Parliament along with the SA Medical Council, have echoed the growing list of organisations in slamming Limpopo Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, for her conduct.
The MEC had embarrassed a bedridden patient from Zimbabwe at a hospital in Bela Bela, Limpopo, last week.
PAP members said such conduct was not consistent with the spirit of Pan-Africanism and regional integration efforts being pursued by African leaders.
In an interview, PAP vice-president for Women’s caucus and Malawian legislator, Mrs Victoria Kingstone, described Dr Ramathuba’s conduct as unbecoming, particularly coming from a woman, as reported by “Bulawayo24 News”.
“It’s so unfortunate, this is a female doctor ill-treating a patient. We are one Africa, whichever country one belongs to. When it comes to humanitarian issues we should behave as human beings,” she said.
“I am attending a PAP session, and I might fall sick and might need medical assistance here. Let’s treat all human beings whether they are in a foreign country or not, equally. I condemn strongly the behaviour shown by that doctor, it is unacceptable.”
South African Government response
The South African government last week said that its department doesn’t have the full context of the video conversation between the MEC and the patient, which makes it difficult to draw a conclusion.
“We acknowledge that the public healthcare system is struggling in some areas to meet the healthcare needs of the citizens and reduce the backlogs due to an unpredictably high number of undocumented migrants from neighbouring countries seeking healthcare service in the country, other than asylum-seekers and refugees.
“This issue is one of the subjects being discussed during bilateral and multilateral meetings at SADC level in order to find a long lasting solution.
“Limpopo Province is one of the affected provinces, and despite these challenges, the healthcare workers must ensure that they maintain a high moral obligation and standards in their work in line with the Hippocratic Oath, together with the National Health Act and the Refugee Act of South Africa.“
The South African government said but that does not mean all services are free, “because only primary healthcare services are provided free of charge, but higher levels of care are subject to a fee”.
“The Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla is currently out of the country, and the Acting Minister of Health, Angie Motshekga, has instructed the department to gather all necessary information which will enable her to provide Dr Phaahla with a full report on his return.”