Gauteng Health says Alternative Building Technologies units alleviate pressure at hospitals

Aletrnative Building Technologies structure in use at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Tshwane. Picture: Gauteng Health Department.

Aletrnative Building Technologies structure in use at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Tshwane. Picture: Gauteng Health Department.

Published Aug 11, 2023


The Gauteng Department of Health has expressed gratitude to the Alternative Building Technologies (ABT) structures that were erected as part of response measures to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said the structures are now helpful as they admit a number of patients for medical attention.

The structures were constructed in four of the provincial public hospitals to relieve patient overload during Covid-19 and speed up other healthcare services.

"ABT structures have not only helped to decongest and relieve patient overload in four Gauteng public hospitals but have also allowed for the expansion of healthcare services," it said.

The hospitals include Jubilee District Hospital in Hammanskraal, Bronkhorstspruit District Hospital, and Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital (DGMAH) in Pretoria, as well as Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH) in Soweto.

The department said the 300-bed ABT structure at Jubilee Hospital has been divided into five 35-bed and five 25-bed units for different purposes. The 35-bed units include two male and two female medical wards and one surgical ward.

The 25-bed units consist of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), gynaecology and choice of termination of pregnancy units, a sub-acute unit, medico legal clinic and a male medical circumcision clinic, as well as a staff wellness clinic.

According to the department, the structure has allowed for continuation of services while infrastructure refurbishments on some parts of Jubilee Hospital are under way.

It said the ABT structure came in handy during the recent Cholera Outbreak in the area, as two of its two wards were used to admit patients suspected of having cholera and those with confirmed cholera.

"The separation of the patients also prevented cross infection," it added.

The 150-bedded ABT structure at Bronkhorstspruit Hospital has expanded services and increased bed capacity to relieve pressure on Mamelodi Regional Hospital. Diagnostic services, such as sonography, are available at the hospital.

Subsequent to Covid-19, the unit has been utilised for a 10-bed 24-hour Accident and Emergency (A&E) Unit, a 30-bed male medical ward, and for optometry and ophthalmology services.

Meanwhile, the 500-bed ABT structure at Chris Baragwanath was used as a stepdown for the surgical and internal medicine departments. It was initially used to accommodate Covid-19 patients.

MEC for Health and Wellness, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, revealed in a written response to a question in the legislature that the structure has not been in use for three months.

She, however, mentioned that plans to use the facility as a stepdown for internal Medicine and Surgical Departments remain.

"Further plans include reconfiguring the structure to accommodate a multidisciplinary Comprehensive Oncology and Gynaecology Unit. Repurposing the facility to become an Oncology Unit will provide additional capacity for cancer treatment, thus reducing waiting times and improving outcomes for the affected patients," Nkomo-Ralehoko said.

She said the reason for relocating gynecological inpatient and outpatient services to the repurposed ABT was to create space and additional beds for overflow of patients in maternity and also improve compliance to infection control principles.

Furthermore, George Mukhari used its 300-bed ABT structure for two medical wards with 59 beds. It has a pharmacy and three storage units for the facility. It also accommodated admitted medical patients without beds.

Additionally, the Mukhuri ABT structure will include two units for Onsite Maternity and Birthing, two units for a 24-hour gateway clinic, and six units for District Hospital services to expand access.

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