South Africa: Strikes Take Terrible Toll At Vosloorus Hospital

Public sector workers protest in Cape Town on Wednesday March 8, 2023.

Four babies have reportedly lost their lives at the Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital in Vosloorus as the ongoing national wage strikes hit vital services around the country.

Almost all services at the Gauteng hospital have ground to a halt since last week, leaving many patients without proper care. The lack of proper medical attention led to the deaths of four newborns who needed urgent medical treatment.

When Health Minister Joe Phaahla visited the strike hit hospital on Monday morning, he said that only three nurses had been able to "sneak" in to provide care for 50 sick children on the ward.

"When I was here on Saturday, there would be wards where you have 50 children who are being taken care of in the neonatal unit where ordinarily you have about 20 nurses looking after them, and only three had been able to sneak in and look after them," he told the media outside the hospital.

"So you can imagine that some of them are kids that are premature and need lots of care and almost every few minutes someone must be able to check," he said.

In response to the urgent crises, 20 SANDF nurses have been deployed in Thelle Mogoerane to address the shortage in capacity.

The community of Vosloorus has also been called to action, to either take their loved ones out of the hospital or to come to the aid of those who cannot leave due to the nature of their ailment.

A local community leader described the situation inside as gruesome, inhumane and dire.

She told Scrolla.Africa: "Some patients are already dead or close to dying. Because of the strike most cannot be taken to the national mortuary, so they just end up dead on their deathbeds.

"Last week, I sent a request to other community members, local NGOs and community leaders, to come and assist, even if it is with sanitation and cleaning or providing food to the patients."

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