Durban - The mayor of Zululand District Municipality, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, wants an investigation into allegations that two young snakebite victims were not properly treated by medics and a hospital.
She also has pledged to pay for the funeral of Tusani Nyandeni, 2, who died after he and his cousin were bitten by a cobra at their Nongoma home.
The family had said the ambulance sent to pick up the two children had taken about two hours to arrive and had not had a first aid kit.
They also said Tusani and his cousin, Nhlalenhle Nyandeni, 8, were given only Panado tablets when they arrived at the Benedictine Hospital in Nongoma early on Wednesday last week. The children were also forced to join long queues at the hospital before they were attended to, the family said.
KaMagwaza-Msibi said on Wednesday that she had visited the Tusani family.
“It is very sad and unusual that a snake could bite two people of the same household in one night,” she said.
“I have decided to cover the funeral expenses to ease the financial burden on the family. I was traumatised when they gave details of what happened that night.”
KaMagwaza-Msibi said: “These allegations need to be uncovered. His mother told me Tusani was only given Panado on his arrival and was forced to join the long queue despite his deteriorating condition at the time.
“I request the (health) department to investigate these allegations. It does not take more than an hour’s drive from the hospital to Nyandeni’s homestead.”
She said she had received many complaints about the hospital and that it was struggling to retain doctors.
“I appeal to the health department to come up with incentives to retain skilful staff. I am told there is always an exodus of doctors not happy to work in a rural hospital,” kaMagwaza-Msibi said.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health’s spokesman, Sam Mkhwanazi, said on Wednesday that Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo had called for a full report on the matter.
“The department has also dispatched a team to visit the family to get information on matters related to the incident,” he said.
Meanwhile, an official at the Ngwelezane Hospital, where Nhlalenhle had been transferred, said that the child had been transferred back to Benedictine Hospital after showing signs of recovery.
Nhlalenhle’s mother, Sebenzile Nyandeni, said she hoped her daughter would be discharged so that she could go to school. She would be in Grade 2 this year.
Nyandeni confirmed that Tusani’s funeral would take place on Thursday. “His body has been fetched from the mortuary,” she said. “We are grateful for the support the family had received.”