Gauteng Health Dept acknowledges overcrowding in province's hospitals

The Human Rights Commission visited the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital on Thursday after nine babies died at the facility due to an outbreak of necrotising enterocolitis in September.

FILE: Rahima Moosa Mother & Child Hospital in Coronationville, Johannesburg. Picture: Google Earth

JOHANNESBURG – The Gauteng Health Department has acknowledged that hospitals in the province are overcrowded but says it’s too early to conclude why nine babies contracted necrotising enterocolitis

The babies died at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital following an outbreak of necrotising enterocolitis.

The Human Rights Commission visited the hospital on Thursday after the deaths at the facility due to an outbreak in September.

The commission has cited a shortage of beds, skewed patient and doctor ratio and a shortage of staff are only a few issues which it wants MEC Gwen Ramokgopa's attention for urgent intervention.

The Gauteng Health department's Medupi Modisane says: “The hospitals are overcrowded and the infrastructure hasn’t captured the population growth in Gauteng and yes there’s an acknowledgment from the department that more hospitals are necessary, the only limiting factor is budgetary constraints.”

The Human Rights Commission says the hospital could not have avoided the outbreak of the deadly bacteria which claimed the babies' lives.

The hospital told the commission on Thursday that it’s been understaffed and overcrowded for years.

The commission visited the hospital where nine infants died from the outbreak to investigate if it could have been avoided.

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The commission says the hospital had no capacity to deal with the outbreak of the disease.

The hospital admitted to the commission that it had a high vacancy rate and was receiving the highest number of patients.

It says it delivers over 1,000 babies a month with insufficient support.

The commission's Buang Jones says: "Even if the equipment issue was addressed, issues relating to staff shortages, it’s very difficult to avoid an outbreak like this one."

The commission says it has subpoenaed MEC Ramokgopa to answer for the poor state of Gauteng hospitals.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)