POWr Social Media Icons

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Home » Features » Refugee dies after SA hospital denies treatment, citing health act
Hospital room [wikimedia commons]

Refugee dies after SA hospital denies treatment, citing health act

Ethiopian refugee Badesa Fokora has died in a Johannesburg hospital after suffering double kidney failure and being refused treatment for it, despite the fact that he had been lying in a hospital bed for a month. Although doctors at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg were aware of his life-threatening condition, they refused him treatment on the basis that he was not a South Africa citizen.
Fokora was told that as a non-South African, he did not qualify for a place on the hospital’s chronic renal treatment programme, which involves dialysis and an organ transplant. The hospital refused to treat him even after Fokora’s family said that they would contribute to the costs of the treatment.
The National Health Act states that only citizens and permanent residents of South Africa may receive assistance in a treatment programme like this. But Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), which was approached for assistance after Fokora was refused treatment, state that under the Refugee Act, refugees are to be treated as citizens when it comes to medical issues.
LHR filed an urgent medical matter in the North Gauteng High Court to compel the Minister of Health to make an allowance for Fokora to be granted treatment, and also for refugees to not be excluded from medical treatment.
The organisation called the conditions of the National Health Act “unconstitutional” because it does not distinguish between refugees and other foreigners, and the fact that refugees cannot return to their home countries for medical treatment due to the risks this would pose to them. For this reason, the Refugee Act should ideally come into effect, as it recognises that refugees have the same rights to basic medical services as citizens do.
LHR’s Patricia Erasmus said that the organisation is disappointed that a young man has died “under preventable circumstances.”
“The National Health Act is clear that the Minister of Health has a discretion to order chronic renal treatment to a foreign national. The manner in which the department has treated Mr Fokora is a gross and unjustifiable violation of his rights to health care, dignity and ultimately life,” said Erasmus.
The two parties, Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ) and Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (Medrek), which used to work together in the opposition block of the country, has ended their relationship and have officially separated as of November 20 due to the differences between the parties.
These two parties were working together for the past six years and their relationship was at odds after a speech, which was delivered by former president of UDJ Gizachew Shiferaw (Eng.), advocated for a merger than continuing with the party in the form of a front or a coalition.
In this regard, Medrek demanded a correction of that speech and suspended the party temporarily on its ninth general assembly which was held last year. However, UDJ declined to do so and argued that the speech was delivered by the president as a personal opinion which does not represent the party.
The disagreement between these two parties continued till the tenth general assembly which was held on November 8 and the newly-elected president of Medrek, Beyene Petros (Prof.), told The Reporter that the suspension is still in place and nothing has changed in that regard. However, the president underscored the fact that UDJ still has some time to correct its mistakes and rejoin the front before the deadline – the November 24. 
Since the deadline given by Medrek has expired and nothing has changed the relationship between the two parties stopped, and in this regard head of public relations of Medrek, Tilahun Endeshaw, confirmed to The Reporter that the two parties have now officially separated.
By the same token, the speaker of the national council of UDJ, Abebe Akalu, told The Reporter that the relationship between the two parties had stopped and UDJ will continue its activities individually as of November 20.
The Reporter asked both leaders that since it is election year, whether the separation harmed the activities of the parties and weaken the general opposition block. In this regard, both replied that it would hamper activities but there was no other option.
“It will affect us, but it is better to separate than to work with some defects. Therefore, UDJ preferred to stop its relation and to work individually with all its capabilities,” Abebe told The Reporter.
Tilahun, on his part, said, “The separation affects the parties but this is done deliberately by individuals who wanted to weaken both Medreek and UDJ and in this regard their mission is accomplished and Medrek will go individually and work hard in the future.”
Apart from this both leaders of the party underlined that they are well prepared to render their struggles individually.
Source: The Reporter