Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba.
Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba.

Eastern Cape woman infected with Covid-19 dies after being sent from pillar to post

By Bongani Hans Time of article published May 8, 2020

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Durban - UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa has revealed shocking details of how his sickly aunt died after being sent from pillar to post by healthcare workers in the Eastern Cape. 

Kwankwa alleges that the nurses allegedly refused to treat his aunt as they feared that she might infect them with Covid-19.

Kwankwa believes that the healthcare workers did not have Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPEs) to protect themselves from being infected by patients who have the disease.

In a letter of complaint to Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane on Wednesday, Kwankwa said her aunt Nomathamsanqa Joyce Banzi, succumbed to illness on Tuesday, May 5. 

He said the Bisho Provincial Hospital had refused to admit her as her coronavirus test result was pending.

Kwankwa said Banzi had first been admitted to Grey Provincial Hospital in King Williams Town but was discharged after nurses had suspected that she had the killer disease and sent her away on a claim that the hospital was temporarily closed to undergo fumigation.

“As we understand it, some of the staff at Grey Provincial Hospital refused to attend to patients who might have contracted the coronavirus, because they were not supplied with PPEs.

“Upon arrival (from Grey hospital), the matron at Bisho Provincial Hospital refused to admit my aunt, because the results of her Covid-19 test, taken on April 30, were not yet available,” Kwankwa wrote.

He said a doctor had told the family that Banzi should be admitted, “but that there was no other choice as Bhisho Provincial Hospital refused her admission due to her pending Covid-19 test result.

Kwankwa said her cousin was forced to push her sickly mother in a wheelchair to a relative’s house in Dimbaza, King William’s Town. 

Then on May 3, Banzi, who had developed severe breathing problems, was taken to Dimbaza Clinic, which then transferred her to S.S. Giba Hospital in Keiskammahoek, where she was placed in isolation after the family had been told that she had tested positive.

“She was left to die on her own on 5 May 2020... As the family we are sad, but we are angry too as we were sent from pillar to post by what seems an incompetent Eastern Cape healthcase system, which resulted in my aunt paying with her life,” he said.

Kwankwa said he was also concerned that Banzi might have passed the virus to other people who came into contact with her.

“There are several family members who regularly visited my sickly aunt at the various medical facilities and no precautionary measures were taken in the likelihood that my aunt had indeed contracted the coronavirus.

“They could have possibly been infected and could already, unwittingly have spread the virus,” said Kwankwa.

In response to Kwankwa’s letter, Mabuyane's Office said he had referred the alleged treatment of Banzi by public healthcare institutions to the office of the Health Ombudsman for a full investigation.

“Premier Mabuyane takes this decision to ensure an independent investigation of each complaint sent by members of the public to his office.

“He strongly believes that referring complaints to the Health Ombudsman for a full investigation is in the best interest of the people of the province receiving health services from the provincial government hospital and clinics,” read the statement from Mabuyane’s office.  

Political Bureau

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