South Africa: Outrage over 36 psychiatric patients’ deaths Patients were transferred out of Johannesburg government facility earlier this year

JOHANNESBURG (AA) – South Africans have expressed outrage after learning that 36 psychiatric patients, transferred in May-June out of a government healthcare facility in Johannesburg, had died.

Democratic Alliance (DA) member of the provincial legislature, Jack Bloom told Anadolu Agency he found out about the deaths on Monday after questioning the provincial heath minister about the transfers.

“There are so many deaths,” he told Anadolu Agency Thursday. “There is need for a proper investigation and accountability.”

He said the patients were transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni facility to 122 NGO centers between May and June this year.

Provincial Health Minister Qedani Mahlangu announced last October the discontinuation of the contract with the Life Healthcare Esidimeni facility, which looked after 2,000 patients, because it was too costly.

Bloom accused Mahlangu of hastiness in canceling the contract of Life Healthcare Esidimeni — which had been providing care to patients with chronic mental health issues for 40 years — without finding suitable community based NGOs.

‘‘If you’re mentally ill, poor and black in this country, you are destined for doom,” Senathi Fisha founder of the Fishawellness Hospital said in a tweet, reacting to the news.

South Africa’s national health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, has called for an investigation into the matter.

 

© 2016, Hassan Isilow . All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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