Health departments to settle Nestlé debt

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pretoria - Provincial Health Departments have been directed to settle their debt to Nestlé South Africa which provides certain state hospitals with infant formula.

Nestlé last week suspended deliveries of infant formula to hospitals in three provinces which had monies outstanding.

"Departments had been directed to settle their debt to Nestlé as a matter of urgency, to prevent jeopardising the health and welfare of HIV-positive babies in particular," said national Health Department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe.

He said that the department could not let the situation continue and therefore intervened where necessary to ensure that provinces meet their financial obligations to the suppliers.

Nestlé Southern Africa Region spokesperson Theo Mxakwe said he appreciated the efforts made by the national health department to ensure that provincial health departments fulfil their obligations and settle outstanding debts.

"The department immediately recognised the difficulty we faced in continuing supplies, and has acted speedily to do what it can to ensure the matter is resolved."

He said he expected the outstanding payments to be made soon and Nestlé will then resume deliveries as has already happened in Limpopo.