Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi officially opened the R730-million, 300-bed Zola-Jabulani District Hospital in Soweto on Wednesday, saying the new facility would help to ease the load on Soweto's Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
The new hospital will provide accident and emergency services, maternity and post-natal care, as well as gynaecology, obstetrics, radiology, outpatient and pharmaceutical services. It has three theatres for minor operations such as caesarean sections and appendectomies.
So far, 921 professionals have been appointed to the hospital, including 26 doctors, 451 nurses and 148 admin staff, and R49.7-million has been spent on medical equipment for the facility.
The hospital will mainly service the northern and western communities of Soweto, including Dobsonville, Emdeni, Meadowlands, Moletsane, Mofolo, Zola and Jabulani.
Speaking at Wednesday's opening, Motsoaledi noted that Chris Hani Baragwanath had 2 888 beds, far above the World Health Organisation's recommendation. He said a hospital with over 1 200 beds was difficult to manage.
He said South Africa's population was growing at a rapid rate, with major implications for its health care facilities. "The solution is to build more hospitals," he said, adding that in his opinion two more hospitals were needed in Soweto.
Referring to the Health Standard Compliance Office, Motsoaledi said inspectors would visit the new hospital to check issues like infection control, the attitude of staff towards patients, cleanliness and waiting times for patients.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane apologised to the community for the long time it took to open the hospital. "When we came into office in 2009, we committed ourselves to give Soweto the best."
Premier Mokonyane urged the community to look after the new infrastructure. "Let's treasure this place," she said.