File photo: Elisabet Ottosson, Flickr.com

Limpopo Department of Health suspended an Operational Manager at one of their clinics after a second woman gave birth at the gate of the facility on Wednesday Morning. 

The incident happened at Ngwaabe clinic in Sekhukhune District.

Departmental spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said  the department was disappointed and embarrassed by the incident as it was the second in 10 days.

"What is saddening is that this incident happens while the department was still investigating the circumstances surrounding the first incident,” he added. 

According to The Citizen, the first incident happened in June when a 21-year-old heavily pregnant woman gave birth on the street after nurses on duty told her they were not working. 

It was alleged that the nurses told the woman that they do not work on weekends.

Shikwambana said the second incident happened despite the fact that the District officials met with the nursing staff and community members, where the nursing staff signed a commitment promising community members they will avail themselves to attend to cases of emergencies at night. 

He said according to reports from community members who witnessed the incident, the woman was driven to the hospital by a relative around 4am on Wednesday.

On arrival at the clinic, they requested the security guards to open for them, but they were told that there were no nurses on duty. 

"It is said that they then called an ambulance and by the time the ambulance arrived, the woman had already given birth and was taken to the hospital," Shikwambana added. 

Shikwambana added that it was surprising as to why there were no nurses at the clinic as it had been agreed upon that they would be available at the clinic to attend to emergency cases while the department was working on getting the facility to operate 24 hours.

According to Shikwambana, the clinic has nine midwives, three staff nurses and two assistant nurses yet none of them were available to attend to the women on both occasions. 

“It is against this background that the department has suspended with immediate effect the Operational Manager of Ngwaabe Clinic. An interim operational manager has been appointed to resume duties with immediate effect,” Shikwambana said. 

“The department will not stand by and watch while people entrusted with the privilege to serve the downtrodden and vulnerable communities who have no other option outside the public health care system continue to fumble to the detriment of the lives of these community members,” he added.

The department urged individuals within organised labour to stop misleading healthcare practitioners into neglecting their duties. 

“The department appreciates the role of unions as its social partners. However, employees must remember that they work for the department not the unions,” Shikwambana said. 

The Star