Gauteng health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi at the controversial R250 million Nasrec quarantine and field hospital which was grossly underutilised and has been closed. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
Gauteng health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi at the controversial R250 million Nasrec quarantine and field hospital which was grossly underutilised and has been closed. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng Health says it has enough beds to deal with expected third wave

By Roland Mpofu Time of article published Mar 7, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) says it has enough extra beds at existing hospitals to cater for the expected third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result, the GDoH decommissioned and closed the controversial R250 million Nasrec quarantine and field hospital which was grossly underutilised with empty beds even at the peak of the first and second waves of the pandemic.

There have been concerns as to why the department decommissioned the Nasrec Field Hospital in the wake of the looming Covid-19 third wave which has been predicted by health experts to start next month or early in May. However, GDoH spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said it was due to the expansion of the public health-care system that has seen 4265 functional beds being added and the evidence-based, scientific advice given by the provincial modelling team.

Modiba said four new vaccine roll-out sites based at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Netcare Milpark Private Hospital and Lenmed Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital were operational.

“As of March 4 this year, 21813 health-care workers had been vaccinated as part of the early access vaccination programme,” said Modiba.

Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi said among the many positives that have emerged was how the province had been able to ensure that its comprehensive health response to the novel Covid-19 pandemic also addresses legacy issues beyond the pandemic when it comes to public health infrastructure.

“This has resulted in the ramping up of capacity as we have been able to create 4265 new functional beds with 4 992 posts created between April 2020 and January 2021,” said Mokgethi.

Mokgethi commended health-care workers for their bravery in the fight against the pandemic as the country marked a year since the Covid-19 outbreak on Friday.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the heroes and heroines in the continuing battle against the faceless enemy called the coronavirus remain the front-line workers,” said Mokgethi.

Meanwhile, the DA health spokesperson in the province Jack Bloom bemoaned the money which was fruitlessly spent on the Nesrac Field Hospital as well the slow supply of the vaccine.

“According to the provincial government, there are now enough extra beds that have been built at existing hospitals to cope with the third wave.

“There are a limited number of vaccination sites,” said Bloom.

Last month the auditor-general’s scathing report found that the department did not invite as many suppliers as possible and there was no prior approval from the relevant treasury for the emergency procurement of the Nasrec Field Hospital as required by treasury regulations.

Sunday Independent

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