Long before two mothers lost their newborns at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital, the CEO Nomonde Mqhayi-Mbambo was warned about deadly infection risks in the neonatal ward.
However, she failed to take action resulting in the deaths of two babies from Klebsiella infection.
This is according to the DA's Jack Bloom who said he saw a memorandum dated May 18 which was sent by the staff at the neonatal ward where seven babies became infected with Klebsiella in July and August, two of whom died.
"The memorandum details a gross shortage of nurses, severe overcrowding, lack of equipment and poor working conditions.
Instead of 22 nurses per shift, there were only 12 nurses per shift."
The staff apparently also warned that “our premature babies are at risk of nosocomial infection due to overcrowding, shortage of staff, inconvenient location of wash basin, poor hand hygiene secondary to unavailability of stock.”
A nosocomial infection is one that is acquired in a hospital setting, which is what happened with the antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella infection that claimed the lives of the two babies, Bloom said.
"According to staff, there were more baby deaths in ward 2 this weekend, but it is unclear whether this was due to Klebsiella.
"They are also concerned that the hospital is mixing new-borns with three to nine month old babies, which increases the risk of cross-infection.
My assessment is that Hospital CEO Nomonde Mqhayi-Mbambo has failed to run this hospital effectively and has ignored the warnings of workers about infection risks.
There needs to be a thorough investigation of the baby deaths and accountability from those who were responsible.
Other problems at this hospital should also be fixed to ensure quality care for all patients," Bloom said.