Health MEC to investigate Park Station birth

By Anna Waters Time of article published Jun 7, 2017

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Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Gwen Ramokgopa has launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to Francine Ngalula Kalala, an asylum-seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo, giving birth at Park Station.

On Monday, The Star reported that Kalala was turned away from three hospitals - Tshwane District, Steve Biko and Charlotte Maxeke Academic - because of her asylum status.

Yesterday, Ramokgopa met the Kalala family at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, where baby Emmanuella has been admitted for medical examination and observation.

Kalala’s husband, Serge, said the MEC told them that she was going to investigate who was on duty at the hospitals that turned them away. She expressed her apologies.

“We belong to a global community that is expected to treat everybody who presents at our facilities and this is expected from any health system in the world,” she said.

“I’m here as part of an investigation. We have requested our quality assurance to investigate and help identify officials involved. We really regret and are very concerned about this incident.”

The MEC also noted that nationality is not used to determine access to health care, and noted in her statement that the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital had delivered 1 691 babies of foreign nationals between January and May of this year, about 47% of total deliveries.

The DA’s spokesperson for health in Gauteng, Jack Bloom, said the provincial Health Department should “seriously examine” the circumstances that led to the three state hospitals refusing admission to Kalala.

“This shameful saga exposes a highly disturbing streak of inhumanity in the hospital staff who contravened the constitutional provision to provide basic health care to everyone, including foreigners.

“It is probably not an isolated case,” Bloom said.

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