A video of Zimbabweans detailing how they illegally cross the border into South Africa seeking medical care has gone viral on social media.
This, after another video of Limpopo Health MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, and a patient from Zimbabwe at Bela Bela Hospital went viral. The MEC told the illegal immigrant that she will not be discharged until her bills are settled. Ramathuba further said Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa is not giving her money to operate them and that they are putting strain on the province’s health system.
WATCH: ZIMBABWEANS CROSSING THE BORDER INTO SA
In the video, a number of Zimbabwean nationals were caught by the border patrol as they were trying to cross into South Africa.
One of the elderly women also caught details how they wake up very early in the morning in order to seek medical care at Messina (Musina) in Limpopo.
The woman says she is sick and there is no medication in Zimbabwe so she is forced to risk her life in the bushes trying to get to Musina so that she can be treated.
“Approximately 1000 people were here today, some are still going to Musina and others are making their way back. We also met the defence force members and they told us to go back,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Arundei Hospital, a private facility in neighbouring Zimbabwe, offered to pay the Bela Bela patient’s outstanding medical bills and appealed to the public to help find the woman.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT RESPONDS TO VIRAL VIDEO
Responding to the viral video of Dr Ramathuba, the Department of Health said it doesn’t have full context of the video conversation between Ramathuba and the Zimbabwean patient, which makes it difficult to make a conclusion.
Furthermore the department said it acknowledges that the public healthcare system is struggling in some areas to meet the healthcare needs of the citizens and reduce the backlogs due to unpredictably high number of undocumented migrants from neighbouring countries seeking healthcare service in the country, other than the asylum-seekers and refugees.
Spokesperson Foster Mohale said this issue is one of the subjects that are 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 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.
“This does not mean that 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 hospital said it routinely provides free medical assistance to people from all walks of life. “We take pride in our efforts, in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe, to provide optimum healthcare to all.”