Health MEC endangering the province with incomplete Covid-19 statistics

Eastern Cape MEC for Health, Sindiswa Gomba, is playing with the lives of the residents of the Eastern Cape, as vital statistics relating to the spread of the Coronavirus in the province continue to be withheld, despite numerous requests for these to be released.

 Jane Cowley. Picture: Talk of the Town

Accurate, real-time daily statistics are essential if we are to win the fight against Covid-19, as it provides the relevant information needed for health professionals and officials to make informed decisions regarding the management of the fight against the virus.

Despite commitments to Members of the Legislature that detailed daily statistics will be provided, this has not been forthcoming.

Instead, poorly compiled weekly summaries from the six districts Joint Operations Committees (JOC’s) are the only reports that have been made available to work from. Most concerning is that reports from both the Buffalo City Metro and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, which have both been identified as national hotspots, have yet to be provided.

This data should at the very least, be broken down to municipal level, and hotspots need to be treated separately.

It is not surprising that Health Mininster Zweli Mkize lambasted the MEC and her department during his visit last week.

Unfortunately, it appears that this has had little to no impact, and it continues to be no business, as usual, for the MEC and her department, while the province sinks deeper into crisis.

I have now written to the Premier, the Speaker and the MEC for Health, to urgently appeal to them to ensure that the right data is made available, daily, to the members of the Legislature and the members of the public.

As South Africa moves toward a risk-adjusted strategy to ease the lockdown and re-stimulate our fragile economy, serious questions will need to be asked of the MEC and her department, specifically relating to the provision of accurate data.

I have now written to the Premier, the Speaker and the MEC for Health, to urgently appeal to them to ensure that the right data is made available, daily, to the members of the Legislature and the members of the public.

This data is crucial to determine which areas will have their lockdowns relaxed, and which will have to continue under stricter controls until the virus is contained.

False or incomplete data means that the wrong level of lockdowns could be implemented too soon, which could have catastrophic consequences for the province, and which could wipe out any gains that the initial lockdown has had, and the sacrifices that have been made will amount to nothing.

by Jane Cowley, MPL – DA Shadow MEC for Health

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