Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has instructed Eastern Cape officials to fix issues of management and cleanliness at health care facilities in the province.

Mkhize was conducting an oversight visit at the Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday when he addressed staff, management and provincial leadership.

“What we are facing are real practical challenges and these are things which we would like you to solve as quick as possible. The first is the question of who is in charge of which institution. Let’s solve that problem. Someone must take charge. Someone must take responsibility,” he said.

“The question of quality of care starts with cleanliness. You have a team that is doing deep cleaning so we are going to start looking at the waste management sites. We are going to go straight to where it hurts.

Anyone who walks into a hospital that is dirty gets even sicker than they were before they got in. It’s a simple, basic issue. We need to focus on that. It’s a question of how the hospital is being managed.”

Mkhize also emphasized the need for psycho-social support for COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers.

“We need a strong mobilisation to destigmatize COVID19 and a strong mobilisation to support people who need testing. The psycho-social support is a big issue,” he said.

“When people get nervous, they need someone to talk to. And it doesn’t just happen to non-medical staff. Our own staff have these problems. We need a lot of support for psychological counselling.

You need someone else to be with you as you go through a journey that has a lot of uncertainty, as with COVID19. A lot of people are recovering, but we want to make sure as few as possible succumb to the infection.”