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Human Rights Commission sounds alarm over Gauteng hospitals

11 June 2019

Infrastructure issues, staff shortages and a lack of beds are common problems at hospitals the commission visited.

Gauteng’s public healthcare facilities needed urgent intervention from the new administration as they shared common issues of staff shortages and poor infrastructure which affected patients, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said yesterday.

The Commission visited the Mamelodi Hospital in Pretoria today to investigate the facility following a viral video where an elderly woman, Martha Marais, was tied up to the foot of a bench on the cold floor two weeks ago.
Since the heinous incident, a security guard, a nurse and two doctors have been placed on special leave.
SAHRC’s Gauteng region manager, Buang Jones, noted that the hospital lacked resources such as bedding, poor ventilation in the casualty ward and a shortage of staff.

During the visit, a doctor at the facility, Dr Awolola, admitted that they sometimes had to place patients on benches and any available space whenever there was shortage of beds.
“We can’t turn away patients and it’s a big challenge – even when we don’t have enough beds. Many times, we have had to close the casualty ward because we don’t have beds,” he told the commission.
But such challenges were common among hospitals in the province, Jones said.In the past 18 months, the Commission had investigated over five healthcare facilities in Gauteng.

These included Jubilee Hospital in Hammanskraal, Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital in Vosloorus and Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Johannesburg.
“Our visit today was also meant to do assessment to see how far this hospital is in providing healthcare to the people of Mamelodi and neighbouring areas. The issues are the same. We are concerned about the physical infrastructures at this hospital. There is a need for management and the new Gauteng Health MEC to expand this facility and meet the demands of the growing population.
“We hope the sixth administration of the Gauteng provincial government will prioritise healthcare and refurbishing healthcare facilities, some of which are in shambles. We hope they address critical staff shortages, particularly nurses and specialists at the different hospitals, while building and expanding existing infrastructure to cater for the growing demands of healthcare in Gauteng,” said Jones.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize also visited the hospital last Thursday, concerned about the country’s healthcare reputation. The newly appointed minister said the department would direct funds to address various problems at hospitals.

Source: The Citizen

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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