Civil unrest disrupts health services in S. Africa

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 24: Law Enforcement during the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) nationwide protest action on February 24, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is reported that the protest aimed to highlight growing poverty, unemployment and inequality in the country. (Photo by Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
A police officer deals with protesters looting a shop in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 12, 2021.
Photo courtesy: Xinhua

South Africa’s National Department of Health said on Tuesday that health services were disrupted in the country due to the ongoing protests.

“The recent violent protests have impacted the vaccination rollout and also disrupted access to essential healthcare services including collection of chronic medication by TB, HIV, Diabetes and other patients in some districts and areas in both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng,” health department spokesperson Popo Maja said.

He said the department was working with the security departments in an effort to make sure that health services especially at vaccine centers were properly restored.

“Government and the private sector are adopting a precautionary principle, and will be temporarily closing some vaccination sites which have been damaged, or which may be at risk.”

Maja said that some pharmacies and other medical centers had been looted and had their stock stolen during the protests that have been ongoing for a week in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal over the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.

The department cautioned the public of the danger of purchasing stolen medication from unregistered individuals.

“Stolen or improperly dispensed medicines are extremely dangerous as they may not have been stored properly, may be contaminated, or may cause dangerous side effects,” Maja said.

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