CALL TO PROBE 'HOSPITAL OF DEATH'

THE Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has called on MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo to act against Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Phoenix after more than 400 babies were recorded dead since the beginning of the year.

THE Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has called on MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo to act against Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Phoenix after more than 400 babies were recorded dead since the beginning of the year.

Party spokesperson on health in the provincial legislature George Mari said statistics from the province had revealed that more than 400 babies had died since January.

Mari said the statistics, released by the province's health department in response to a question in Parliament, were shocking.

"Statistics indicated that 407 babies have died at the hospital since January 2009 and the information showed that the majority of deaths were pulmonary TB-related," he said.

A total of 285 deaths are PTB-related, 52 are the result of babies born prematurely, 64 relate to low birth weights and six are classified as 'age shock'".

According to Mari, figures from other hospitals in the province pale in comparison with those from Mahatma Gandhi Hospital.

"At Durban's RK Khan Hospital, 178 babies have died since the beginning of the year. There is an urgent need for an investigation into the reasons for the appallingly high infant mortality rate at Mahatma Gandhi and for this information to be acted upon immediately," said Mari, who added that the hospital, also known as the "hospital of death", had recorded a total of 2327 deaths since January 2009, with most being TB and pneumonia related.

But department of health spokesperson Chris Maxon said yesterday that, according to information from the hospital, there were no such statistics.

"The hospital does not have such stats and we have to find out from Mari where he got them," he said.

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