DOH needs to account for poor management of Listeriosis outbreak – COSATU

Federation says more could have been done to rope in other stakeholders to assist in awareness campaign

The Department of Health needs to account for its poor management of the Listeriosis disease outbreak

5 March 2018 

COSATU has noted with concern the number people that have died as a result of government’s poor management of the Listeriosis. The death of more than 180 people from a treatable disease is alarming. It is the government’s lax attitude and failure to educate our people and properly regulate the food industry that has led to so many people dying from a  serious but treatable food poisoning.

The department could have done more to rope in other stakeholders to assist in the awareness campaign. These deaths could have been avoided. This is nothing but a failure of political leadership. The ministry and department of health cannot continue to explain away their  failures that have deadly consequences. The department of health needs a serious shake up because for country with a very high disease burden, the failure of the department of health have deadly consequences.   

COSATU has previously complained about low levels of publicity that  have been given to the listeriosis outbreak given its fatal consequences. We are still more concerned about vulnerable groups with limited access to information on the disease. We therefore urge the department of health to increase awareness on the Listeriosis outbreak with regular television, radio, print and social media advertisements. The Department of health is also urged to feature the topic of Listeriosis in any health engagement moving forward up until cases of Listeriosis are significantly reduced.

COSATU is of the opinion that a disease as preventable and treatable as Listeriosis should not result in the death of persons; one death as a result of Listeriosis is already one death too many. Symptoms of the disease include flue like symptoms such as fever, general body pain, vomiting as well as weakness. Listeriosis is preventable by applying the following measure:

Members of the public are urged to visit medical facility if they suspect that they have contracted the disease. 

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 5 March 2018