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8 JANUARY 2012

ATTTENTION: Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission is shocked by the reported deaths of four babies at the hospital in Limpopo Province.
It is reported that the four newly-born babies died between Thursday the 3rd January and Saturday the 5th January 2013 at the George Masebe Hospital in Mokopane, due to suspected negligence.

It is further reported that there were no enough doctors at the hospital, and only eight doctors were on duty, instead of thirty-eight during the period when the babies died.
The SAHRC is deeply concerned that this tragedy was allowed to happen.

We believe the alleged shortage of doctors is not something that the provincial Department of Health only became aware of after the deaths of these babies, and as such pre-emptive measures should have been taken.

We suspect that these babies died of treatable diseases and the lack of medical care and treatment (proper attention )from qualified doctors could have (led to ) exacerbated their deaths.

It should be noted that our Constitution clearly states that “everyone has the right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health…and the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of” the right to health.

The SAHRC will launch an own initiative investigation into the cause of these deaths (at a hospital in Mokopane) delete, to establish whether the rights to basic health care service and to life of these babies were infringed upon.

The SAHRC also calls on the authorities to ensure that there are attention is given to all hospitals in the province which are experiencing similar shortages of doctors in order to take pre-emptive steps to avoid unnecessary deaths that those who acted negligently are dealt with, and that necessary support is provided to the families of the deceased babies.

Issued BY:
Isaac Mangena
Head: Communications
South African Human Rights Commission

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]

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