8 February 2013

South Africa: Damaged Roads Affect Health Services in Vhembe

Heavy rains have caused serious damage to roads in the Vhembe district causing serious problems for health services in the area.

According to Matodzi Ralushai, spokesperson for the district municipality, some communities are cut off from health services after roads and bridges were washed away by the recent floods.

The areas most affected were farming communities falling under Musina and Mutale local municipalities.

"The challenge we are facing is that most of these areas that are isolated rely on mobile clinics,” said Ralushai.

"Unfortunately our mobile clinics can’t access these areas because of the poor road condition. As a result, our people might not get the service because their areas are not accessible.

"Funeral parlours also struggle to collect corpses from areas that are inaccessible. This means that the process of delivering a corpse to the mortuary takes longer," said Ralushai.

The road damage has also prevented children from attending school. Two major bridges in Dongola and Mutele B washed away during the floods, while several smaller bridges also washed away or were damaged to the extent that it isn’t safe to use.

Ralushai said the municipality is trying its best to find alternative routes to places where the communities are cut off.

"But unfortunately we do not have budget to address this challenge. It is a disaster and we will have to get assistance from the provincial and national government,” said Ralushai.

According to him, more than 1 000 families have received food-parcels, but there are about 4 000 families still in need. He said the municipality does not have enough money to cater for all the affected families.

Ralushai said aid from organisation like Gift of the Givers and the Red Cross is making a huge difference.

Ndivhuwo Museth in an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Thohoyandou district in Limpopo (Vhembe).

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