Sun Oct 23 05:35:22 SAST 2016

Limpopo's hospital of death

By unknown | Feb 26, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Alex Matlala and Frank Maponya

Alex Matlala and Frank Maponya

Helene Franz Hospital is in intensive care. A lot of work and money will be needed to resuscitate this health institution, which has now been dubbed the "hospital of death".

Last year alone, an alarming number of deaths - 172 in three months - were recorded at the hospital.

Services at this institution in Senwabarwana in the Blouberg municipality, have completely collapsed.

And hospital board chairperson Dan Mosena admits as much. He is worried by the state of affairs at the hospital.

Last year, he headed a task team that investigated the hospital. He was shocked by what they unearthed.

But despite the recommendations they made to both the hospital management and the MEC for health, he is frustrated that there has been no movement in trying to remedy the situation.

"To be honest, I don't know what is going on. This week we were supposed to have a board meeting, but the MEC and the chief executive didn't show up. There seems to be some stonewalling. They are not coming to the party.

"They seem to be playing political games while people's lives are at risk. The MEC is the bad one because he is the political head of the department and he is not supporting us," Mosena said.

The meeting was to discuss the implementation of the first phase of the upgrade. This needs R25million, and both the department of health and the hospital management must come up with the money.

"We will not give up though. We will continue making suggestions on how we can fix this problem," Mosena said.

The whole project will need a lot more money, which Mosena estimated between R60million and R70million.

It is a mammoth task because everything is broken - from the air conditioners, boiler, malfunctioning mortuary, to improving service to patients.

According to the task team report, 58 people died in the hospital in October, 40 in November and 74 in December, making it the worst hospital in the province in terms of death rate.

The unhygienic conditions bother Mosena as well. The hospital kitchen has been invaded by cockroaches. The linen on the patients' beds is dirty.

He said the department of health always blamed the shortage of doctors.

Provincial health spokesman Phuti Seloba says the department is working on improving conditions at the hospital.


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