Some hospitals still turn away pregnant women, despite a court ruling that mandates free health services for pregnant and lactating women and children under six. According to IOL, Section27 and other organisations have raised concerns over the persistent refusal of payment by certain hospitals and clinics.
Reports have also emerged of pregnant migrants being denied access to healthcare facilities. The Gauteng High Court previously upheld the rights of these women and children to receive free health services at all public health establishments, following an application by Section27.
However, Section27 has received complaints that several hospitals and healthcare facilities, including Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and Tambo Memorial Hospital, are not complying with the court order. There have been reports of extortion, such as demanding payment for services that should be free and coercing women into signing acknowledgements of debt.
Kayan Leung, an attorney at Lawyers for Human Rights, says these practices are unlawful and constitute unfair discrimination and human rights abuses. Section27 has called on the Gauteng Department of Health to ensure compliance with the court order and take disciplinary action against any facility or staff member violating it.
Additionally, they have urged the Health Ombud to investigate systemic health xenophobia.
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