Routine healthcare services were badly dented by Covid-19
According to research, published in the latest SA Medical Journal (SAMJ) patient visits to primary healthcare facilities fell 18%, HIV testing plunged 22.3%, and tuberculosis testing plummeted by 26% between March and December 2020, compared with the corresponding period in 2019. SA’s institutional maternal mortality ratio soared 18% to 106.8 per 100 000 live births compared with 90.5 per 100 000 live births the year before, reflecting the direct and indirect effects of Covid-19.
At the same time, provincial health departments scaled back on routine care and diverted resources to manage Covid-19 patients. The researchers found access to routine public care was limited throughout SA, but there were wide provincial variations, ranging from a drop of 31.1% in the Western Cape to a drop of just 8.7% in the Free State.