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South African health worker ‘I Am’ movement overturns…

Health professionals include senior academics, senior specialists from major public hospitals and heads of departments, former chief executive, deputy chief executive, deans of university health faculties, former heads of Provincial Departments of Health, the Chairman and CEO of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, Chairman of the Medical Research Council and CEO of the Board of Health Funders.

Each person signs “I am” followed by their name, as a direct challenge to the authorities to discipline them if they dare.

The letter is written in solidarity with Dr Tim De Maayer, whose own open letter about the dire conditions at Rahima Moosa Mother & Child Hospital won him support from many – and a suspension from work. The resulting outcry saw him reinstated, but there was reports of continued victimization at work, prompting a new wave of support.

read in Daily Maverick: A wake-up call for health service chiefs: children are dying because of the appalling state of our public hospitals

The “I Am” movement was born spontaneously in recent days.

It signals a shift in power within the healthcare system, with people on the front lines now more determined than ever to speak out against the appalling conditions in which they work – conditions that patients are forced to endure.

The Minister of Health and the Premier of Gauteng have yet to respond. We will solicit and publish their response in due course. – Mark Heywood, Editor, Maverick Citizen.

read in Daily Maverick: Rahima Moosa hospital problem ‘has metastasized throughout the health system in South Africa’

Open Letter: Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla and Gauteng Premier David Makhura

We, health care professionals and workers, academics, medical scientists and researchers, veteran health activists and civil society representatives concerned with the state of public health services, hereby declare that:

  1. The irrefutable deterioration of the public health service, the main body that underpins the constitutional right of access to all necessary care, is a gross violation of the rights of all who live in South Africa and an unconscionable attack on well-being. of patients attending public health facilities.
  2. The terms of service that prohibit health personnel from speaking publicly about these shortcomings are reminiscent of apartheid-era practices aimed at stifling legitimate dissent and public disclosure and are contrary to the constitutional order.
  3. The victimization of health professionals who expose the profound administrative shortcomings from which public health establishments suffer accelerates the emigration of health professionals who can no longer bear the moral damage caused by the fact of working in conditions contrary to their ethical obligations.
  4. We wholeheartedly support healthcare workers facing unfair disciplinary action for publicly disclosing intolerable conditions in most provincial healthcare facilities.

We therefore ask the following:

  1. The immediate and unequivocal cessation of all disciplinary action against Dr. Tim De Maayer and his colleagues, and the initiation of an independent investigation into the related conduct of the provincial officials involved and the CEO of Rahima Moosa Mother & Child Hospital.
  2. The creation of a permanent Public Health Administration Review Commission to reconfigure the structure and functioning of provincial health departments, including: and communities and report to the Provincial Legislative Assembly on a regulated. b) Appointment of CEOs with operational and financial management skills by these duly constituted councils, in conjunction with joint protocols of the staff of the relevant university medical schools and the provincial administration.

We want it to be known that we will actively oppose the victimization of healthcare workers and do all we can to protect their right to expose administrative actions that negatively affect their ability to comply with their ethical responsibilities.

For the avoidance of doubt, the list of signatories to this letter should give you the assurance that the issues discussed in this letter need to be addressed with urgency, as every minute this untenable situation gets longer can be measured in lives lost.

This is who we are:

I am Lufuno Rudo wa Mathivha

I am Islam Dasoo

I am Lance Lasersohn

I am Angelique Coetzee

I am Guy Richards

I am Ames Dhai

I am Glenda Gray

I am James McIntyre

I am Yasmine Adam

I am Akhtar Hussain

I am Fazel Randera

I am Suzanne Goldstein

I am Malefetsane Ngatane

I am Selma Brode

I am Mashudu wa ha Nethononda

I am Morgan Chetty

I am Gill Eagle

I am Nkaki Sydwell Matlala

I am Guni Goolab

I am Paul Davis

I am Mike Sathekge

I am Jane Simmonds

I am John Gear

I am Masilo wa Marumo

I am Terence Carter

I am Alistair Calver

I am Adam Pyle

I am Elijah Nkosi

I am Mark Human

I am Ebrahim Variava

I am Alex van den Heever

I am Ramesh Bhoola

I am Hannetjie Ferreira

I am Thami Mngoma

I am Carol Marshall

I am Priya Soma Pillay

I am Beth Engelbrecht

I am Richard Tuft

I am Lekgolo Moloto

I am Angela Mathee

I am Lucille Blumberg

I am Jeremy Nel

I am Tanya Cohen

I am Ernest Darko

I am Wendy Vogel

I am Adrienne Wulfsohn

I am Marian Jacobs

I am Shabir Madhi

I am Tony Lachman

I am Helen Schneider

I am Paul Ruff

I am Andy Gray

I am Ashraf Coovadia

I am Lerato Mosiah

I am Francois Venter

I am Greg van Wyk

I am Yogan Pillay

I am Mark Sonderup

I am Ian Sanne

I am Vishal Brijlal

I am Gareth Kantor

I am Sue Fawcus

I am Sally Mudly Padayachee

I am Nkateko Munisi

I am Ilana Edelstein

I am Sagie Pillay

I am Cecil Manitshana

I am Ashraf Grimwood

I am Binu Luke

I am Lauren Fox

I am Shereen Usdin

I am Monica Springfield

I am Wendy Stevens

I am Helen Rees

I am Shabir Banoo

I am Max Price

I am Zaheer Laher

I am Adams Tongman

I am bada pharasi

I am Haroon Saloojee

I am Daphney Nozizwe Conco

I am Ke Mabatho Ntombi Mutshekwane

I am Amanda Gcabashe

I’m Pete Wharton-Hood

I am Mahomed Faruk Mahomed

I am Malikah Van Der Schyff

I am Simon Strachan

I am Sham Moodley

I am Russell Rensburg

I am Eric Buch

I am Girish Modi

I am Wendy Ovens

I am Neil Nair

I am Saths Cooper

I am Lionel Green-Thompson

I am Judy Dlamini

I am David Sekete

I am Mzukisi Grootboom

I am Biren Valodia

I am Edward Ngwenya

I am Tom Boyles

I am Gary Reubenson

I am Valerie Mizrahi

I am Safiyya Randera-Rees

I am Goolam Aboobaker

I am Linda-Gail Bekker

I am Malebona Matsoso

I am Bobby Ramasia

I am Kgosi Letlape

I am Gail Andrews

I am Evan Shoul

I am Refiloe Masekela

I am Jens Pedersen

I am Martin Veller

I am Hendrik Hanekom

I am Barry Kistnasamy

I am David Motau

I am Shakti Pillay

I am Siven Maslamoney

I am Sibongile Tshabalala

I am Sasha Stevenson

I am Adam Mohammad

I am Stavros Nicolaou

I am Dumisani Bomela

I am Errol Anthony Holland

I am Katlego Mothudi

I am Farid Abdullah

I am Jacob Poo

I am Bavesh Kana

I am Trish Hanekom

I am Peggy Kensani Serote

I am Lalitha Ramiah

I am Michelle Maserow

I am Tumi Semete

I am Koert Pretorius

I am Ameena Goga

I am Sheila Barsell


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