South Africa hospital denies Zimbabwean man access to dialysis machine
"I have a relative admitted at a public hospital in South Africa. He needs a dialysis machine and Drs told us they don't put foreigners on dialysis machine we should go to a private hospital. (This person has a valid work permit)." Ndebele wrote on Twitter.
Hundreds of Ndebele's Twitter followers urged him to take legal action against the hospital.
However, legal experts have opined that it is not cut in stone that one must access public healthcare. This is enshrined in the case Soobramoney v Minister of Health, KwaZulu-Natal of 1997 which the court had to adjudicate on the universal constitutional right to medical treatment as against the problem of an under-resourced health care system.
I have a relative admitted at a public hospital in South Africa. He needs a dialysis machine and Drs told us they dont put foreigners on dialysis machine we should go to a private hospital. ( This person has a valid work permit.). #Asakhe— Zenzele (@zenzele) April 20, 2022
Soobramoney, who was suffering from chronic renal failure, sought dialysis treatment from a state hospital in Durban. The hospital had been forced to adopt a set of guidelines for dialysis treatment because of its limited facilities.
Soobramoney brought an application to the Durban High Court for an order that the hospital gives him the necessary treatment, citing section 27(3) Constitution of South Africa which gives everyone the right not to be refused emergency medical treatment, and section 11 Constitution of South Africa insisting also on his constitutionally-protected right to life.
His application was dismissed by the High court and the constitutional court.
Its the policy of the relevant authorities we are told— Zenzele (@zenzele) April 20, 2022
According to the South African National Health Act foreigners do not need to pay for healthcare at public hospitals. All healthcare services are free at the primary healthcare [level] irrespective of nationality or permit status.
Johannesburg MMC for Health Ashley Sauls said the health systems are overburdened due to the overlooking of controlling illegal immigration.