The Economic Freedom Fighters Commander in Chief Julius Malema led a demonstration to Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital on Wednesday 28 February. The party argued that healthcare has deteriorated since 1994 due to the low capacity of healthcare institutions in the country. The EFF kicked started its #EFFPublicHealthCare campaign with demonstrations in and around the country.
The Economic Freedom Fighters Commander in Chief Julius Malema previously announced to the media a plan the party made for this year, which is to pay attention to health care in the country. The EFF declared 2018 as the year of healthcare. This program is, according to the party, aimed at addressing issues of incompetent nurses, doctors and hospital managers. The party said they would establish a healthcare office where people will be able to lay complaints and get assistance.
This move comes subsequent to the Life Esidemeni strategy. Malema encouraged the community to take charge of public hospitals to ensure what happened at Life Esidemeni does not happen again. The EFF leader said that the government’s actions were careless and irresponsible and that leaders such as the Prime Minister of Gauteng and the Health Minister should be held accountable. The incident is an indication that the government is not too concerned with mental health issues. Mental health is a grim issue especially regarding social order, thus, it is significant and any stereotypes need to be broken.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), health is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Mental health here is described not only as a “health” issue but a social device for rationality and productivity. The WHO emphasizes that mental health difficulties have an impact on society as a whole and, resolutely, they are “a major challenge to global development.” According to the organisation, there is not a single group insusceptible to mental disorders even though the risk is higher among the poor, the unemployed, persons with low education, and victims of violence, women, the neglected elderly and other marginalized groups.
The EFF did not only emphasis the issue of mental health but various issues such as lack of resources in hospitals and ill treatment of patients. Malema encouraged patients to take videos and pictures to expose all the mismanagement and abuse in hospitals. The management of Baragwanath hospital accepted the concerns of the party through its acting CEO.