28 June 2017

South Africa: Polokwane Maternity Patients Forced to Sleep On Hospital Floor

Photo: Cindy Shiner/AllAfrica
Maternity ward (file photo).

Overcrowding in the maternity ward of Polokwane's regional hospital has forced expectant mothers to sleep on the floors.

Frustrated patients have complained that conditions at Mankweng Hospital are unbearable.

Tintswalo Mabunda, 30, who was admitted on June 18, told News24 that there were more than 40 patients in the three maternity wards.

"All the same people have to use one toilet that is leaking. At this point, the same toilet is starting to block because, when you flush, water comes out," she said.

Mabunda also said that the each ward had eight beds and that the rest of the patients had to sleep on the floor.

"It is a painful experience what we are encountering as patients here at Mankweng Hospital. The hospital does not even have blankets to a point that we have to bring our own blankets from home," she said.

Another maternity patient, Modiba Rosina, 36, said that the government was negligent in maintaining the hospital, because patients had to bath with cold water out of small bowls.

"There is no hot water in the hospital and cold water barely comes out of basin taps. Both shower and bath taps are also not working to a point that we have to use a small hospital bowl designed to be used in the kitchen, or in the wards, to hold water that doctors and nurses used to nurse patients' wounds.

"The linen I use: I found that someone was using it before me, and it seemed no-one bothered to change it. Or maybe it is also another problem that could be an issue being ignored from the top management of the province, where supply chain is concerned," said Rosina.

'New infrastructure'

She said nurses even had to bring their own kettles to help patients warm their baths.

"The doctors and nurses of Mankweng Hospital are nice. Their support and warmth is the only thing that makes being here okay," said Modiba.

Limpopo department of health spokesperson Brian Kganyago said they were aware of the situation at Mankweng Hospital.

"Infrastructure is a historical challenge and it is frustrating to learn that our people have to fall under unpleasant circumstances, but this is a situation faced by the entire province.

"With regard to Mankweng Hospital, we have hired a new panel to do the maintenance. With regard to plumbing, we are pushing that, by the coming week, patients at the hospital won't have to worry about bathing with cold water," he said.

He said that the department was suffering financially and that, even after the 2017/18 budget set aside R10m for Mankweng Hospital, it would still not be enough to build a new hospital.

"We have to admit that the hospitals in Limpopo need a whole new infrastructure, but the [budgeted] money is not enough for these hospitals, [and] still won't be enough to build a brand new hospital," he said.

Economic Freedom Fighters Limpopo secretary Jossy Buthane said that they had also been speaking to some to the patients at Mankweng Hospital about the conditions there.

"We have conducted our own research to the complaints by the patients at Mankweng Hospital, and the state is upsetting. The state at the maternity ward of the hospital is the most damaged place all round. It is saddening because this points out exactly the ignorance of the leadership of our government," he said.

Source: News24

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