Joy for patients as hospital opens doors
THE Mpumalanga department of health has finally opened a multimillion-rand hospital, two years after it was constructed.
MEC for health and social development Clifford Mkasi said staff shortages had led to the delay in the opening of the Nelspruit Community Health Centre, which cost R70-million to build.
"We are opening the centre with minimal staff. There are 13 nurses at the hospital but we need to have 20. Even that may not be enough," Mkasi said.
"There is only one doctor and we see the need to have three to five doctors. We will have doctors from other hospitals come to help out here."
Last month, Mkasi said an audit done in February had shown there was a 81% shortage of doctors and 56% shortage of nurses in the province.
Since then, they have hired about 500 doctors and nurses, he said.
Mkasi said the new hospital would bring much-needed relief to Rob Ferreira Hospital, also in Nelspruit, and encouraged people to come to thecentre instead.
The centre has an operating theatre and an emergency room. Patients were already being treated yesterday . Patient Mapule Mashiane, of Kanyamazane, said it was a "blessing".
"We were subjected to long queues at Rob Ferreira and our local clinics are not helping. Sometimes I would go to the local clinic in the morning only to return home with no medication," she said.
Another patient, Patience Mlobela, said she had lost hope when she was turned away from a clinic earlyyesterday.
"I had taken my week-old baby for a check-up but was told to come back on Friday. Someone told me about this hospital and I came here," she said.