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Bloemfontein - Fatigue, allergies and chronic illness have caused many delegates to consult doctors at the ANC conference in Mangaung.
At the University of Free State, delegates walked long distances from the student residences to the main marquee, thus exposing themselves to high temperatures.
The air-conditioning in the tent was also not working, and dancing and singing struggle songs pushed the mercury even higher.
There were two major health stations on campus Ä one next to the main marquee and another next to Callie Human Hall, where the gala dinner was held.
In every spot where people had been gathered for commissions, business breakfast and voting, at least two mobile clinics were stationed to help delegates with health problems.
Keith Khoza, spokesman for the African National Congress, confirmed on Wednesday that a male delegate from Mpumalanga had died on Sunday after experiencing respiratory problems.
“We handed the matter to the provincial leadership to ensure that they go and meet the family of the deceased,” Khoza said.
Isaac Moisi, team leader of the medical station next to the main marquee, said the facilities were like a fully furnished clinic, complete with nurses and doctors.
“Most people who came for treatment were suffering from fatigue because of lack of sleep and temperatures which were high in Mangaung,” he said.
Some of the patients consulted the clinics to get medication for their chronic illnesses.
Fundile Nyati, a medical doctor and CEO of Proactive Health Solutions, treated a number of journalists with the same problems.
On average, his mini-clinic based at the media centre was open for over 12 hours at a time.
“Some of the problems that people came for were pre-existing such as high blood pressure, sugar diabetes and wanted to check how they were,” he said.
“Some were on treatment and wanted to know if the stress related to their job could have made things worse.”
Other patients discovered that they were diabetic or had hypertension, something they did not previously know.
“Some delegates came to do HIV tests while others wanted condoms.”
The main ailments were problems associated the sinuses and throat.
These were mainly related to the pollen that is found on campus because of the trees, Nyati said.
Most people had nasal blockages, sinus headaches and sore throats - all allergy-related illnesses.
“There was a lot of fatigue, because people were not eating at regular intervals, and not eating proper food, so they come here with low blood sugar.
“Whenever you are going to have a gathering where you are going to have many people, it is important as part of your planning to also anticipate it that in such an environment there will be those who will not be healthy,” Nyati said. - Sapa