Nightmare nurses may be off hook
Two nurses who allegedly turned a heavily pregnant teenager away from a clinic at Hluvukani in Mpumalanga 10 months ago and told her to take a taxi to a hospital 35km away might escape punishment.
This is because the Limpopo Department of Health and Social Development can't bring the nurses before a disciplinary inquiry because the Hluvukani clinic is now in Mpumalanga.
The teenager, Suspicion Sihlangu, 18, gave birth in the taxi, between Hluvukani and Acornhoek, on January 27.
She lives in Makrepeni village, near Manyeleti Game Reserve.
She claimed that she and her grandmother, Maggy N'wa Basiki, were first chased away from the nearby Gottenburg clinic.
She said the nurses at Gottenburg told her that their clinic had no medical equipment for child delivery and suggested that she go to Hluvukani clinic, where such equipment was available.
But at Hluvukani two nurses allegedly left Sihlangu waiting for more than an hour while they chatted and drank tea.
When they eventually attended to her they allegedly shouted at her, telling her that because she did not live at Hluvukani she would have to take a minibus taxi to Tintswalo Hospital in Acornhoek.
"The nurses literally pushed me out of the clinic and showed me the way to the taxi rank, where I got into a taxi, leaving my grandmother behind," Sihlangu said yesterday.
Along the way Sihlangu suddenly went into labour, and the taxi driver pulled off the road.
A woman passenger and the driver helped her deliver her baby in the taxi.
They then rushed her and the newborn to the nearby Cottondale Clinic.
The Limpopo Department of Health and Social Development's spokesman, Phuti Seloba, promised that the department would investigate Sihlangu's allegations.
He said that if they were substantiated the nurses involved would be brought before a disciplinary board of inquiry.
But Seloba told Sowetan yesterday: "All inquiries regarding the problems faced by the people of Mpumalanga have to be dealt with by that province."
Dumisani Mlangeni, Seloba's counterpart in Mpumalanga, said his department had become aware of the incident only when Sowetan contacted him yesterday.
"We request the victim to give us all the details to allow us to tackle the matter further." Mlangeni said.