Protector to probe infant deaths

Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is probing neo-natal (newborn) and infant deaths in public hospitals, her office said on Wednesday.

“The Public Protector re-invite(s) persons affected by neo-natal and infant deaths to submit representations as part of a systemic investigation which kicked off early this year,” her spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi said.

Public Protector Thuli MandonselaFile photo: Masi Losi. Credit: Independent Newspapers

Affected parties had until March 15 to make submissions.

Madonsela made the call during a discussion attended by her United Kingdom counterpart, Dame Julie Mellor, on Tuesday.

The talks were focused on the transformation of the UK National Health System through ombudsmanship, and included aspects on how South Africa could learn from the UK.

Madonsela said: “We decided to proceed with investigations whilst recognising the transformation initiatives that are being taken by the Minister (of Health Aaron Motsoaledi).

“We will work with the department of health to play a role in identifying some of the administrative failures that may undermine the good transformation initiatives that the department is desperately undertaking,” she said.

The Public Protector was conducting two other investigations into the health department.

They were into alleged management and procurement failures at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, and systemic deficiencies in the provision of healthcare services.

Madonsela has called for the establishment of a health ombud, and has said this will ensure speedy and quality resolutions of heath service complaints. - Sapa