The politicization of healthcare and scapegoating people is dangerous writes Alana Baranov.
That people are being turned away from hospitals and clinics by vigilante mobs based on their skin colour and language in South Africa today is truly abhorrent.
The SAJBD condemns in the strongest terms the hostility to migrants and foreign nationals accessing healthcare care facilities in our country, with incidences of xenophobic protests by Operation Dudula outside our hospitals and clinics. These acts of violence and intimidation are fueled by irresponsible statements from government officials and political party leaders.
History has shown that scapegoating any group of people and using them as political pawns is perilous. We are already seeing an upsurge in xenophobic rhetoric and violence, and there are fears that this will only grow as election season approaches if left unchecked.
The politicization of healthcare is extremely dangerous, not only putting the lives of migrants and foreign nationals needing medical assistance at risk, but also placing an increased pressure on already stretched healthcare workers and facilities in our country. Those needing these services the most are disproportionately suffering due to these hateful actions.
The SAJBD stresses that the right to healthcare is guaranteed by the Constitution regardless of nationality and documentation status. We cannot let basic human rights be eroded and infringed.
We urge health authorities at all levels, both provincial and national, to ensure that access to critical health care services is available for all and that fair and impartial treatment is given to individuals with dignity. We also call for government officials and political party representatives, as well as all community leaders across the country, to speak out against xenophobia and all forms of hatred.