A woman with elephantiasis has laid a complaint against a hospital after she was turned away from without treatment.
A woman with elephantiasis has laid a complaint against a hospital after she was turned away from without treatment.

Hospital without water for five days

By YOLANDE DU PREEZ Time of article published Feb 20, 2012

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Patients at the Tshwane District Hospital in Pretoria have not been bathed or cleaned by nurses for days because there was no water.

The only water supply that patients had for the past five days was supplied in two-litre bottles by members of the public. Spokesman for the City of Tshwane Pieter de Necker said he was aware of the problem and confirmed that it was not the city’s fault.

Hannetjie Niemann, 74, had her last bath on Tuesday morning, moments before she was admitted to the hospital. Her daughter, Joey Brits, said there was a foul smell in the ward when she visited her mother on Thursday.

“I started asking other patients in the ward when was the last time they had a bath and they told me three days ago,” she said.

“The toilets could not flush and I think it created a very unhygienic environment,” she said.

On Thursday, Brits collected 39 two-litre bottles and filled them with water. She distributed them among the wards and said patients and staff were very grateful. “At least they could wash their faces and brush their teeth,” Brits said.

On Friday, Brits called in the help of the Community Police Forum in Pretoria North, which helped her collect more bottles.

Brits said she was not sure how many two- and five-litre bottles they filled, but it was “a lot”.

They continued to fill bottles with water throughout Friday and Saturday.

Brits said that her mother could take a bath for the first time on Saturday after she was admitted.

Hendrika Kruger, the DA’s Gauteng social development spokeswoman, said she tried on several occasions to contact the Gauteng MEC for Health and Social Development, Ntombi Mekgwe, about the problem, to no avail.

“I tried calling several times and even sent an SMS,” she said.

According to departmental spokesman Simon Zwane, the department only became aware of the problem on Sunday morning.

“I have not managed to get hold of any hospital staff to find out what the situation is,” he said.

Kruger said that although the water supply had been restored on Sunday morning, she was worried about why it had taken the Department of Health and Social Development so long to react.

According to Kruger, the water shortage was due to a fault with the hospital’s valve system and not because of water shortages or problems with supply.

Kruger explained that the pipes were blocked because of a build-up of pressure within the pipes.

“The pressure could not be released. Maybe it is because the pipes are old or maybe it is because there was no pressure valve,” she said. - Pretoria News

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