The crises besieging SA’s public hospitals
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Johannesburg - Public hospitals in South Africa have suffered a number of crises in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the current water shortages in Gauteng and fires.
Since May 19, there has been a shortage of water in the Hursthill, Brixton and Crosby areas, leading to two hospitals, Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital and Helen Joseph Hospital, being supplied with water tankers.
NGO Gift of the Givers responded to the plight of patients and staff at the Rahima Moosa Hospital by making its drilling team available to dig for boreholes to assist the Coronationville residents.
In April, Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital closed after a fire gutted parts of the facility, destroying more than R40 million worth of stock, largely personal protective equipment (PPE).
The oncology unit will reopen this week, following numerous complaints from patients regarding their medication. The rest of the hospital remains closed.
Last month, Sunday Independent reported that nursing unions warned they were “extremely nervous” about the provision of oxygen as the country enters the third wave of the pandemic. Provincial health departments said they were able to secure sufficient oxygen during the first and second waves and were confident of their supplies.
Staff issues have also been reported. In Limpopo, health workers, including nurses and doctors, threatened to strike in January and March over increased workloads.
A spotlight has also been shone on the safety of patients in public hospitals in Gauteng. The Star reported in October last year that at least three patients were allegedly raped at Gauteng health-care centres, including Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital and Tara Psychiatric Hospital. At Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, a 22-year-old man allegedly raped a 15-year-old boy. At Tara, it is alleged that a 15-year-old girl, who is an outpatient, was raped by another patient.