Press Statement: Support for healthcare workers working in precarious situations is needed not vilification

Johannesburg, 23 July 2015

The Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA) would like to express our serious concern in relation to the suspension from duty of two doctors from Evander Hospital in Mpumalanga for performing an emergency perimortem caesarian section in the hospital’s labour ward. RuDASA firstly extends heartfelt condolences to the family of the mother and baby who died. We hope, however, that a small measure of comfort can be gained from a proper understanding of the facts surrounding the healthcare that was provided, and the reasons for which the caesarian section was performed in such unusual circumstances.    

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Press Statement: Rural Awards acknowledge Perseverance in Rural Health

The Pierre Jacques Rural Doctor of the Year award was presented to Dr. Jenny Nash at the 18th Rural Health conference that was held in Worcester, 21-24 September 2014. The Provincial Rural Doctor of the Year award went to Dr. Hans Hendriks from Ceres hospital. The first ever award for the rural therapist of the year was presented to Jabu Ndlovu. What the award recipients have in common, is perseverance to make a difference in rural health, despite multiple challenges. The theme of the rural health conference was resilience, and this is demonstrated in the stories of each recipient.

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No Mountain Too High for the 2013 Rural Doctors of the Year

RuDASA Press Statement: 

In a context where there are many bad-news stories, it is important that we recognise and celebrate good news. The stories of many dedicated rural doctors who provide amazing care to communities in need are seldom told. The Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA) inaugurated an annual award for the rural doctor of the year in 2002, to acknowledge some of those unsung heroes.

The award is presented to a rural doctor, working at the coal face, who made a significant contribution towards rural health in the previous year. The award was named after Dr Pierre Jacques, a founder member of RuDASA and a doyen of rural practice in South Africa. He spent most of his working life at Elim Hospital in rural Limpopo province and was a tireless advocate for rural health and the role of the rural doctor in South Africa. The award is presented jointly by RuDASA, the HIV Clinicians’ Society and the Rural Health Advocacy Project.

The award was again presented at the 17th Annual Rural Health Conference in St Lucia on 9 August 2013.

Dr Ben and Dr Taryn Gaunt: Teamwork and Outstanding Local Leadership
The Pierre Jacques award for 2013 was awarded to a doctor couple, Ben and Taryn Gaunt, from Zithulele hospital in the Eastern Cape.

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Calling an end to initiation deaths and mutilations

Press Statement:
RuDASA AND JUDASA CALL FOR AN IMMEDIATE END TO THE PREDICTABLE AND AVOIDABLE ANNUAL INITIATION DEATHS AND MUTILATIONS.
15 July 2013

In 2010, Dr. John Lazarus wrote in the South African Medical Journal:  Twenty years ago two Eastern Cape urological surgeons documented their experience with treating initiates (...), they followed up 45 consecutive patients and documented a mortality rate of 9%. The death toll for the 2010 winter initiation period stood at 40 at the time of writing. These statistics not only point to the fact that little has changed, but suggest that the situation may in fact be deteriorating.”

From 2008 until 2012, the Eastern Cape Province recorded 323 deaths, with 126 initiates suffering genital amputation. At the beginning of July 2013 the EC province recorded 30 deaths and 293 hospital admissions from dehydration, septic circumcision wounds, and gangrene of the penis. We view the apparent absence of improvement with great concern.

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