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South Africa Health Scandal: At Least 94 Mental Patients Died After Being Transferred To Unlicensed Health Facilities

Update Date: Feb 03, 2017 07:27 PM EST

Mental health problems are a widespread scenario in South Africa. But despite that, the country lacks necessary policies and resources for an effective mental health services. Recently, a major tragedy occurred in South Africa that is connected to this issue.

According to The Guardian, at least 94 patients with mental health problems died in South Africa. This devastating event happened when South African authorities transferred these patients from hospitals to unlicensed medical facilities.

A total of 1,900 patients were transferred from Life Esidimeni health institution to 27 unlicensed healthcare facilities by the Gauteng health department in an attempt to save money.

Some witnesses said that those facilities were like concentration camps. They also failed to provide those mental health patients with enough food and water, which resulted in malnourishment. And in worst cases, some patients died of dehydration.

The deaths occurred between February and December 2016. Out of those 94 deaths, only one died from mental illness. The other 93 have died from other health problems such as dehydration, pneumonia and diarrhea.

When the scandal broke, provincial health minister Qedani Mahlangu resigned from her position, as per BBC. Gauteng government premier David Makhura said that he had accepted the resignation of Mahlangu.

This South African healthcare scandal was one of the biggest since the African National Congress (ANC) took power in 1994. The opposition Democratic Alliance party expressed their fury and accusing the government of lying about the number of deaths when the scandal was discovered.

Families of the victims were hoping for a closure in this health scandal. They are also hoping that the government will give them some financial assistance. But the question here is if the government will agree with the demands of the victims' families.

Makhura vowed that he will hold accountable all the officials that are involved in the scandal. He also said that the death toll might rise as the investigation continues. 

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