I’m a northern European medical doctor. A senior surgeon, working in the public sector of South Africa. I have done so the last 5 years.
I do not want to speak outside my discipline, so this will be about the medical demise of SA. Most visitors to South Africa, who encounter the public health sector, do so by visiting a hospital or a clinic in or near the big cities. What they get to see is a hospital or a clinic, which is working, but not up to Western standards.
Before I came down here, I believed that pre-94 South Africa had a very good health care system for the white population, and nothing for the black. I soon discovered that was not the case. The Calvinistic white rulers of South Africa had built an elaborate network of public hospitals, reaching the outermost societies of this large country. We are talking about 5-600 beds hospitals far out in the rural areas.
Before 1994, they were well manned and equipped, and complicated procedures were carried out there. I know this. I’ve been to these hospitals and spoken to the people working there. I have gone through old patient files and surgical statistics.
These were hospitals that catered for the black population.
This web of hospitals as I can see must have covered more or less 100% of South Africa’s population, including the former Bantustans or homelands. I know that the same situation was present as to schools.
The ANC run a couple of campaigns like “Election before education” and “To make the country ungovernable”. As part of that, most rural schools were burnt down.
Keeping in mind the traditionally very violent African culture down here, one perfectly do understand why the hospitals built by the apartheid government, did not suffer the same fate.
This has left us with a window to the past; we can clearly see that the apartheid government did not only care for their white population, but in fact, also took great responsibility for the black, at something that must have been an enormous cost.
Back to visiting South African hospitals… When doing so, the visitor will be shown one of a few hospitals, where not too many windows are broken, not all the equipment has been vandalized and not all the electric supply has been cut off.
Now, go outside these hospitals, go to the former rural hospitals, and what do you find? You will find that the hospitals built for the black population, by the black ANC government, have been degraded and left unfunded. You will find hospitals with no doctors. Hospitals with no electricity. No X-ray equipment. No furniture..
You actually will find old rural hospital inhabited by squatters!
It is for me a huge paradox that the black government seems to have zero compassion for their own population, as long as they can get away with it and no one can or will see it.
The black population has not by magic become so much healthier after 1994 that these hospitals are not needed anymore. Au contraire, the black population is in dire need of these hospitals, but all they find are ghost hospitals. Many of whom I’ve visited, are beyond repair.
I am leaving South Africa now. I have paid my duties, and I am forever marked by Africa in the form of an entry and exit 9 mm bullet hole in my right upper leg. I got it because my robber was not happy with me handing over my 10 year old or something Nokia 6110 cell phone, and some small coins.
No wallet, no rings and only amalgam fillings… Now, what kind of doctor is that? My last word to South Africa: Go to hell!