‘This raises the serious question of whether this information does exist in the various provinces and if it does not, does this threaten the integrity of the national statistics?’
THE DA has questioned the lack of provincial statistics on Covid-19 cases with their regional breakdown from the provinces.
DA spokesperson on Health, Siviwe Gwarube, said on Tuesday that with the exception of the Western Cape Department of Health, the country was yet to see a clear and accurate breakdown of Covid-19 cases and daily infections by regions in the other eight provinces. This, he pointed out, could easily be done by geo-mapping technology.
“This raises the serious question of whether this information does exist in the various provinces and if it does not, does this threaten the integrity of the national statistics?”
Gwarube added that while certain information could be kept from the public due to clinical sensitivity, there was no reason why provinces could not publicise this information daily.
“This would be a useful tool for public education and aids in the efforts of keeping citizens informed.”
Gwarube added further that it was also in the public interest to know where the outbreak was most severe, where it was declining and where it may be rising.”
We should also be updated every day on how many people are hospitalised with Covid-19 in each province.”
He added that another key question that the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, needed to answer was the critical shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line health workers and the capacity levels for each province to deal with this pandemic.
“In a letter to Minister Mkhize on the 31st of March addressing the shortage of PPE across the country, I urged him to have greater oversight on the provinces and their capacity levels. We can ill-afford mistakes and shortcomings.”
He added that DA members of provincial legislatures in all provinces had also requested urgent meetings from the chairpersons of health portfolio committees. “While some have received positive feedback, others are still waiting. We are monitoring this closely.
“The health response in this pandemic has been commendable and continues to be. However, we remain concerned about provincial health departments’ capacity to deal with rising numbers of infections, fatalities and the equipping of facilities and health care workers sufficiently to deal with this pandemic. This is why this meeting of the portfolio committee will be critical to ascertain these details.
This is an important step in the fight against this pandemic. The legislative arm of our country must exercise its crucial role of representing the people of this country.”