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Bara Hospital disputes claims of surge in malnutrition cases

Hospital CEO Dr Nkele Lesia said the malnutrition cases that were being treated had nothing to do with the national lockdown as claimed before.

FILE: Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The CEO of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital on Tuesday said no new cases of malnutrition were reported to the hospital.

Dr Nkele Lesia said the malnutrition cases that were being treated had nothing to do with the national lockdown as claimed before.

In April, the president of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), professor Glenda Gray, was quoted as saying the hospital was reporting new cases as a result of the extended lockdown.

What happened with Glenda Gray? A timeline

The Department of Health criticised Gray for what it described as inaccurate comments, saying her behaviour was unprofessional and destructive.

Gray and the department seemed to have buried the hatchet.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize told Parliament a week ago that he got a call from Gray, who said she would retract her comments about the cases of malnutrition at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

But she has not officially done so.

Lesia again moved to clarify that there were no new cases of malnutrition at the facility.

“At Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, we haven’t really seen an increase in malnutrition cases because of the COVID-19 lockdown. We have been having cases of malnutrition as a province even before the lockdown. Actually, the trend at our hospital shows that the numbers are coming down,” Lesia said.

However, she said the hospital was now faced with a challenge of dealing with none COVID-19 admissions due to the number of infections coming in for different ailments.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.