Durban - It would seem that fate has been unkind to the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department following the deaths of at least 16 medical practitioners since 2016.
The department said the number was not definitive, and provided the Daily News with a list of the deceased either killed in car accidents, a drowning, a shooting, a stabbing with at least one dying of a heart attack.
Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, health MEC said in addition to the devastation, pain and human suffering caused by the deaths, the passing away of doctors is also taking its toll on government.
“Doctors are in short supply in this country. The state spends a lot of money investing in these cadres to improve health outcomes in the province, only for them to pass away just as we are about to reap the fruits of our investment. For the province to keep losing doctors during the prime of their lives when we still expect so much from them, is really sad. It is a huge blow to us because doctors continue working until they are very old, so if he was in his late 20s, we’ve lost nearly 40 years of his service,” Dhlomo said.
Among the dead are Dr Samukelisiwe Theodora Sibeko (Camara) from Polela CHC, Dr Lungile Ndebele in Newcastle, Dr Thokozane Mthalane of Esikhawini, Dr Mkhize from Woodlands, Dr Bavesh Sewran, Dr Vajnah Banoo Mohomed, Dr Gugu Sithole from Mbalenhle CHC, Dr Jay Clark from Greys’ Hospital, Dr Xolani Shezi from Greys’ Hospital, Dr Pearce from St Anne’s Hospital, an unidentified doctor from Greys’ Hospital, Dr Chocholo from Prince Mshiyeni, Dr Sakheni Ncube, Dr Happy Thwala, student doctors Sihle Makhaye and Sibusiso Thanks Ngeleka, who drowned in a swimming pool in Cuba.
MEC Dhlomo urged all healthcare professionals to secure their future through taking life cover so that their families were not found wanting in the event of sudden and unexpected death.
“Many of our young people come from poor families, who expect a lot from them when they graduate and become doctors. I would, therefore, like to urge all doctors, and healthcare professionals in general, to ensure that they have life insurance coverage so that when they pass away, they leave something behind for their families,” Dhlomo said.