Nurses, doctors warn Gauteng hospitals at capacity with COVID-19 3rd wave

Lerato Mthunzi is the president of the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union and she said that government hospitals in the province were bursting at the seams.

FILE: A doctor walks in the Respiratory & Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit (RMPRU) at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto on 14 July 2020. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng public hospitals are feeling the burden of the COVID-19 third wave, with nurses and doctors warning that some hospitals had reached capacity, clinics were overburdened and that there was a glaring lack of political intervention in the middle of the crisis.

A water shortage in Johannesburg resulted in the Gift of the Givers filling the leadership vacuum by drilling a borehole at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital to alleviate the devastating impact on patients there.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura last week said that Gauteng could not afford for the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital to remain closed after a fire there two months ago.

According to the latest statistics compiled by the Health Department, Gauteng currently had 21,700 active COVID-19 cases, while 25 people had died of the virus in this province over the last 24-hour reporting cycle.

If a patient in the Johannesburg CBD fell, the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital would not be able to help. It was still closed two months after a fire broke out there.

As a result, patients are redirected to nearby hospitals like the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, which is also experiencing pressure amid a third wave in the province.

Lerato Mthunzi is the president of the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union and she said that government hospitals in the province were bursting at the seams.

"It's not really a good sight. The curfew and other lockdown regulations are not being enforced this time around to save the economy but at the same time, the hospitals and staff are really struggling."

Meanwhile, Dr Barry Jacobson at the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) said that the crisis at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital continued to worsen.

"It's an unmitigated disaster. We're in the middle of this massive COVID crisis and it's actually happening to the people who've got the least."

When Eyewitness News contacted the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital on Tuesday morning, its CEO, Gladys Bogoshi, said that she was sick and couldn't speak.

Attempts to speak to the Gauteng Health Department have also not yet been successful.

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