Life Esidimeni: Mental health is still the ‘stepchild' of health and remains underfunded, underresourced

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

This road was unexpected, hard and emotionally draining. Sometimes, I did not know whether I was coming or going. What made it hard was watching my niece come to terms with her mom never being able to live with us again… and it is not going to get better.

Life Esidimeni: Mental health is still the ‘stepchild’ of health and remains underfunded, underresourced
© Copyright (c) Daily Maverick , All Rights Reserved

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Thus began our road in the space of mental health. 

It started with my sister getting lost in Kimberley for about three days. We were running back and forth to clinics and hospitals before she was eventually admitted to Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. Her stay should have lasted a maximum of three days, but instead ended up being three months. The doctors struggled to diagnose her because she presented unusually rare symptoms. This resulted in test after test being conducted and an international research team being invited to observe her because they were doing research on dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Global Tech News Daily

We were then called in and counselled about her diagnosis and were told that the best situation was for her to be admitted to the Randfontein Life Esidimeni. When we asked if we could not take her home and care for her, the doctors advised us against it and insisted on Randfontein Life Esidimeni because of the type of care she required. 

This was difficult to accept — so much so that we had to go for counselling in order to cope with the only decision we had to make, or rather accept. 

Global Tech News Daily

She had to go through a “settling-in” process before we could visit. When we first saw her after the transfer, we were not sure about the Randfontein Life Esidimeni, but the environment was welcoming and staff were always providing updates, informing us about doctor’s visits, clinic visits, physical therapy, medication, etc. Even when we called, we would receive amazing updates. 

In all those months at Life Esidimeni, she honestly improved physically and her interaction with us was like she was getting better. She enjoyed it when we brought cake and chicken, for those were her favourite foods. She would smile and sometimes even giggle, but I loved how she would light up like a Christmas tree when her daughter would walk into the room. 

The worst came when we were told about the closure of the facilities. We received an SMS telling us that she had been moved and later received a call from Ethel Ncube, the director of Precious Angels, informing us of her passing. She did not even have the common decency to tell us the real date of my sister’s death and she then proceeded to lie about the cause of her death. She even prevented us from gaining access to see or collect her body for over five days, until we had to get the police involved. 

We then decided to get a postmortem because nothing made sense. Then we learnt that she shared a morgue in Hebron owned and run by Put U to Rest funeral parlour with eight other Life Esidimeni Mental Healthcare Users, who had obviously suffered a similar fate at the hands of Precious Angels in Atteridgeville and Danville. 

One of the few positives that came out of this tragedy was meeting Section27 and telling them about the eight other bodies. They provided me, the other families I met throughout all of this, with support.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get better, we were blessed by Prof Malegapuru Makgoba’s work and amazing report. It was the first honest thing to come out of our government, which was followed up by the former Chief Justice Moseneke’ s arbitration award and recommendations. These have not been fully complied with — the “living” monument, or place of remembrance, has not been set up despite the many “ignored” calls for updates. The healing sessions were great because they allowed families to tell the Department of Health what had happened to their loved ones and to tell their stories. 

Six years later and nothing has changed, mental health is still the “stepchild” of health and remains underfunded, underresourced. Nothing has changed with the Mental Health Review Board and the issues regarding the NGOs’ licensing still persist. The Department of Health has made no strides in creating mental health awareness and hosting educational campaigns to ensure that mental health facilities are built, professionals are employed and are accessible in all regions at a basic level. An incentive like that could help with “early detection” of mental health problems. So, instead of people eventually being institutionalised because of never being diagnosed, more people could be taught how to manage their mental health and be given the opportunity to live a “normal” life, while drowning out the stigma attached to it.

Sadly, the Department of Health, both at national and provincial levels, have said and done very little about mental health. This worsened with the discovery of Covid-19, as the families of those who survived struggled because they were once again forgotten and never really kept updated, even though there were many requests for updates sent to the Office of the Premier and Gauteng Department of Health. 

The inquest did not come easy. While most people thought things had quieted down, with the support of Section2, we had continued knocking on the NPA’s doors. We didn’t stop until Minister Ronald Lamola made the announcement in January 2020 that he had asked North Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo to appoint a judge to conduct an inquest. Judge Teffo was appointed, and the Life Esidimeni formal inquest hearing started on 19 July at the High Court in Pretoria.

Shortly after it started, it was marred by postponement after postponement, which left families worried and anxious that it may be indefinitely delayed — especially after learning from a reliable source that the NPA was at some point affected by political interference, which may or may not have resulted in the inquest not happening until now, six years later. 

The January 19 testimony was especially difficult for me because I got to hear Dr Wadvalla’s report about my sister, but more difficult was me reliving those absolutely horrible moments; it left me feeling depressed, sad and angry. DM/MC

News Related

OTHER NEWS

New York Rangers get another comeback win to force Game 7 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH — How many times can the New York Rangers dig themselves into a hole and climb back out? At least one more, as of Friday night. The Blueshirts came ... Read more »

Wilson, balanced Aces cruise to 96-73 victory over Dream

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — A’ja Wilson scored 15 points, Kelsey Plum had 14 points and 11 assists and the Las Vegas Aces rolled to a 96-73 victory over the ... Read more »

EXPLAINER: Why frustration lingers in Okinawa 50 years later

The Associated PressFILE – U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Anglen of Turner, Ore., center, stands atop a cliff as Sgt. Bryan Wallace of Pikin, Ill., waits for his turn before ... Read more »

Astros beat Nationals 6-1 for 11th straight victory

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to ... Read more »

Kreider scores late, Rangers edge Pens 5-3 to force Game 7

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chris Kreider’s long slap shot bounced over Louis Domingue and into the net with 1:28 left and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on ... Read more »

Astros push winning streak to 11, roll past Nationals 6-1

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, and Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep to help the Houston Astros extend their winning ... Read more »

Moustakas, Drury power Reds to 8-2 victory over Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mike Moustakas homered twice and Brandon Drury drove in four runs to break out of a slump and lead the resurgent Cincinnati Reds to an 8-2 victory ... Read more »

Peterson's bases-loaded walk lifts Brewers over Marlins 2-1

MIAMI (AP) — Jace Peterson walked against Anthony Bender with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 Friday night. After starters ... Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during manager Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Ogunbowale, Gray help Wings rally past Mystics, 94-86

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arike Ogunbowale scored 27 points, Allisha Gray had 21 and the Dallas Wings overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Washington Mystics 94-86 on Friday night. ... Read more »

Resigning North Dakota senator led lawmakers in travel costs

The Associated PressFILE – North Dakota Sen. Ray Holmberg listens during a joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee meeting at the Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Jan. 7, 2009. Holmberg, ... Read more »

Residents in picturesque California county hit with gas prices topping $7 a gallon

A California county known for its spectacular mountains and proximity to Yosemite National Park has been paying the nation’s highest gas prices. Read more »

Boudreau to return as coach of Canucks next season

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bruce Boudreau will return as coach of the Vancouver Canucks next season after helping to turn the struggling NHL club around as a midyear replacement. ... Read more »

New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID

On Location: May 13, 2022 Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.The Associated Press WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19 ... Read more »

Today in History for May 14th

Highlights of this day in history: Colonists go ashore in Virginia to set up Jamestown; Lewis and Clark begin to explore Louisiana Territory; Israel founded; Skylab launched; Movie producer George ... Read more »

Twitter CEO expects Elon Musk acquisition to close, addresses spending cuts

Musk is awaiting details supporting calculations that spam, fake accounts represent less than 5% of Twitter's users Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Renovated NYC museum shows indigenous perspectives

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City recently finished a major renovation of its exhibition on the native peoples of the northwest coast of North America. Curators ... Read more »

Police release 911 calls in Gilgo Beach case

A woman who disappeared in a beach community on New York’s Long Island more than a decade ago, sparking an investigation into a possible serial killer, said “there’s somebody after ... Read more »

Academy Awards set 2023 Oscars for March 12

The Associated PressFILE – Oscar statue on the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Next year’s Academy Awards will ... Read more »

Actor Fred Ward, of 'Tremors,' 'The Right Stuff' fame, dies

The Associated PressFILE – Fred Ward, a cast member in “30 Minutes or Less,” poses at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles on Aug. 8, 2011. Ward, a ... Read more »

Judge refuses to drop elections suit against Trump, media

NEW YORK — A Colorado judge on Friday denied motions to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by an election systems worker against former President Donald Trump’s campaign, two of its ... Read more »

Q&A: Becky G unveils every side of herself in latest album

The Associated PressFILE – Becky G appears at the Oscars in Los Angeles on March 27, 2022. Beck G’s latest album is “Esquemas.” (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) NEW YORK ... Read more »

North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak. Read more »

North Korea confirms 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea says 21 people died and 174,440 people were newly found with fever symptoms on Friday alone as the country scrambles to slow the spread ... Read more »

White Sox place Giolito on COVID list, activate Vaughn

The Chicago White Sox placed ace Lucas Giolito on the COVID-19 injured list and activated outfielder Andrew Vaughn following a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. Giolito began experiencing ... Read more »

Traded back and forth, Ford learns to live out of suitcase

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Ford has learned to travel light — and quickly. Since the start of the season, the 29-year-old first baseman has played for Tacoma, San Francisco ... Read more »

Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink satellites

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from California on Friday. (May 13) Read more »

Celtics' Robert Williams remains out for Game 6 vs. Bucks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Boston forward/center Robert Williams missed his third straight game with an injured left knee as the Celtics tried to keep their season alive Friday night in Game ... Read more »

Padres sign Robinson Canó, plan to use him off the bench

ATLANTA (AP) — The San Diego Padres have signed veteran second baseman Robinson Canó to a major league contract and plan to use him as a left-handed bat off the ... Read more »

WNBA star's Russia detention extended by 1 month

The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner says her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month. Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press the relatively short extension indicated ... Read more »

Louisiana justices toss COVID-related charges against pastor

Hundreds of thousands of Americans fighting long-haul symptoms from COVID-19 Dr. David Putrino from Mount Sinai Health System and COVID long-hauler Joel Fram discuss the long-term effects of the disease.The ... Read more »

Sandy Hook lawsuits against Alex Jones on track to resume

The Associated PressFILE – This Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, photo shows radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at Capitol Hill in Washington. The Sandy Hook families’ lawsuits against ... Read more »

Rockies' Bryant closer to return after cortisone shot

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant took swings in the cage Friday for the first time since he was sidelined with a sore back nearly three weeks ago ... Read more »

Mariners demote Jarred Kelenic to minors after poor start

NEW YORK (AP) — Rather than make his Citi Field debut against the team that traded him, Jarred Kelenic was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma by the Seattle Mariners on Friday ... Read more »

Biden: ASEAN partnership 'critical' in this moment

Looking to strengthen ties, President Joe Biden welcomes leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to Washington for the first time. “We’re launching a new era in U.S.-ASEAN relations,” ... Read more »

Phil Mickelson will not defend his title at next week's PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson caught lightning in a bottle last year at Kiawah Island, winning a major championship at 50 years of age. The fairways flooded, and the golf world stood and ... Read more »

Tennessee Titans' Malik Willis on Ryan Tannehill's mentorship comments: 'Everything is cool'

The Tennessee Titans didn’t take issue with Ryan Tannehill’s comments about mentoring third-round rookie Malik Willis. Willis and coach Mike Vrabel were asked about Tannehill’s scrutinized remarks following the first ... Read more »

Lawyers plan suit against Lufthansa over Jewish passengers

Lawyers for 26 passengers said Friday they told Lufthansa that they will sue the German airline for refusing to let members of a large group of Orthodox Jewish passengers board ... Read more »

Wild face offseason after yet another early ouster

While the Minnesota Wild were stacking up franchise records and securing the extra home game for the first round, general manager Bill Guerin carefully acknowledged a “great year” for the ... Read more »