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Civil unrest disrupts health services in S. Africa

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-07-14 09:42
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A fire engulfs Campsdrift Park, which houses Makro and China Mall, following protests that have widened into looting in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on July 13, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's National Department of Health said on Tuesday that health services were disrupted in the country due to the ongoing protests.

"The recent violent protests have impacted the vaccination rollout and also disrupted access to essential healthcare services including collection of chronic medication by TB, HIV, Diabetes and other patients in some districts and areas in both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng," health department spokesperson Popo Maja said.

He said the department was working with the security departments in an effort to make sure that health services especially at vaccine centers were properly restored.

"Government and the private sector are adopting a precautionary principle, and will be temporarily closing some vaccination sites which have been damaged, or which may be at risk."

Maja said that some pharmacies and other medical centers had been looted and had their stock stolen during the protests that have been ongoing for a week in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal over the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.

The department cautioned the public of the danger of purchasing stolen medication from unregistered individuals.

"Stolen or improperly dispensed medicines are extremely dangerous as they may not have been stored properly, may be contaminated, or may cause dangerous side effects," Maja said.

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