The Gauteng Health Department has revealed a distressing statistic, reporting that 788 newborns have lost their lives at Tembisa Hospital since 2020. The causes of these tragic deaths include infections, complications related to prematurity, hypoxia, and congenital anomalies.
Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko addressed queries from the DA during a session at the provincial legislature on Tuesday, shedding light on the conditions at the maternity and neonatal wards of Tembisa Hospital. The department faced questions regarding the number of births and infant mortality rates between 2020 and 2022, with a specific inquiry into the instances of babies born with brain damage.
Nkomo-Ralehoko disclosed that a staggering 50,000 babies were delivered at Tembisa Hospital in the past three years. Unfortunately, the heartbreaking reality is that 237 infants lost their lives in 2020/21, 271 in 2021/22, and 280 in 2022/23.
In a proactive response to address the concerns and enhance the quality of care at Tembisa Hospital’s neonatal and maternity department, Nkomo-Ralehoko detailed the inclusion of crucial medical equipment in the 2023/24 demand plan and National Tertiary Services Grant business plan. This includes an EEG (electroencephalogram) machine, MRI scan, and ultrasound machine equipped with cranial and cardiac probes.
The department has recognized challenges related to staffing and equipment shortages and has prioritized addressing these issues. Nkomo-Ralehoko emphasized efforts to fill vacant positions, citing the recent appointment of 25 out of 32 advertised posts. Additionally, 15 professional nurses and 10 enrolled nurses commenced work last week, while three posts for enrolled nursing assistants are in the process of being filled.
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However, concerns were raised by DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom regarding the rising percentage of infection-related deaths, which have surged to 37%, surpassing the 25.1% recorded in 2020. Hypoxia-related deaths, attributed to a lack of oxygen, have also increased to 15.2%, compared to 11% last year and 14.8% the year before.
Bloom expressed deep concern about the upward trend in deaths from avoidable causes and challenged the department’s assertion that no definitive cases of negligence had been established. He argued that denial seemed to be a recurring theme, echoing the sentiment expressed in the tragic incidents at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
Tembisa Hospital has faced scrutiny due to a scandal involving irregular and wasteful spending amounting to R1 billion over the past three years, according to a Special Investigating Unit report. Bloom contends that this underscores a critical issue of competent and honest management, emphasizing that adequate resources could save many infants from avoidable tragedies.
IN OTHER NEWS: Top Medical Aids and Hospitals in South Africa: Delivering Quality Healthcare
South Africa boasts a robust healthcare system with several medical aids and hospitals providing top-notch services to residents. In a country where access to quality healthcare is crucial, a few standout institutions have consistently demonstrated excellence in medical care, earning them a reputation as the best in the nation.
Leading Medical Aids: Prioritizing Wellness and Accessibility
1. Discovery Health: A Pioneer in Comprehensive Coverage
Discovery Health stands tall as one of South Africa’s premier medical aid providers, offering comprehensive coverage and a wide network of healthcare professionals. With innovative wellness programs and a commitment to preventive care, Discovery Health focuses not only on treating illnesses but also on promoting a healthy lifestyle among its members.
2. Bonitas Medical Fund: Affordable Excellence
Bonitas Medical Fund has earned its place among the best by striking a balance between affordability and quality healthcare. With a range of plans tailored to different needs, Bonitas ensures that individuals and families have access to medical services without compromising on standards.
3. Momentum Health: Customer-Centric Healthcare Solutions
Momentum Health has gained recognition for its customer-centric approach, providing personalized healthcare solutions. Their emphasis on technology-driven services, coupled with a strong network of healthcare providers, makes them a preferred choice for those seeking efficient and responsive medical aid.
Exemplary Hospitals: Where Expertise Meets Compassion
1. Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital: A Beacon of Medical Excellence
Situated in Soweto, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital stands as the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere. Renowned for its world-class medical facilities and a cadre of skilled healthcare professionals, the hospital is a beacon of medical excellence, serving as a referral center for complex cases.
2. Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital: Cutting-Edge Technology and Expertise
Located in Cape Town, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital is synonymous with cutting-edge medical technology and a team of highly skilled specialists. The hospital’s commitment to staying at the forefront of medical advancements positions it as a leader in various medical disciplines.
3. Groote Schuur Hospital: A Legacy of Innovation and Research
As a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Cape Town, Groote Schuur Hospital has a rich legacy of innovation and research. Known for its contribution to medical science, the hospital continues to attract top-tier medical professionals, offering a diverse range of medical services.
The Path Forward: Continual Improvement in South African Healthcare
While these medical aids and hospitals shine as beacons of excellence in South Africa, the healthcare landscape is continually evolving. The commitment to providing accessible, high-quality healthcare remains a shared goal, ensuring that the nation’s residents can access the best possible medical care when they need it the most.