Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso Africa News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Extreme overcrowding has been identified as one of the main causes of the spread of the kebsiella infection, according to Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.

On Sunday, Motsoaledi and Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa briefed the media at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital of the department’s measures to address the infection, which has taken the lives of six premature babies at the hospital.

Motsoaledi said the issue of overcrowding was a great concern because all neonatal wards in the province were overcrowded at an average of at least 132%.

“The only way to relieve overcrowding is to use other available facilities, especially the low-risk ones,” he said.

Unused space at the newly built Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital will be used to regulate overcrowding as well as Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital.

The department is also concerned about the design of the neonatal, antenatal and postnatal wards, the labour ward and the theatre of the hospital. It has passage from these wards to the theatre, which passes through the neonatal ward, which adds to the risk.

The relocation of the patients and their mothers to the additional facilities will also allow the department to scrub down and decontaminate the environment and address structural issues.

The minister added that the province needed at least six new hospitals urgently in order to deal with the overcrowding issue.

The Star