Protest over deaths of babies
ABOUT 100 Phoenix community members staged a protest outside Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.
The disgruntled residents were protesting over poor conditions at the hospital - dubbed the "hospital of death".
The protesters, mainly pensioners, waved placards painting a bleak picture of conditions at the hospital.
One read: "Clean up our dirty hospital, 407 babies have died in 12 months at this hospital."
Community leader and DA MPL George Mari said the residents had also informed former MEC for health Peggy Nkonyeni about the conditions at the hospital but nothing was done.
"The extreme high number of deaths at the hospital is appalling. In the past two years approximately 4500 deaths have been reported.
"In the period January to December 2008, 407 babies have died in this hospital, leaving many mothers-to-be traumatised and heartbroken. And this year alone, 154 babies have died up to September," said Mari.
He said the maternity ward was understaffed, with only six midwives servicing nearly 20 beds, and delivering more than 700 babies a month.
Mari said there was a shortage of doctors and nurses at the hospital.
The residents demanded that urgent attention be given to the maternity section and that more doctors and nurses be deployed at the hospital.
They also demanded that the task team's findings into the problems at the hospital be made known.
They further demanded that MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo should indicate what action would be taken.
Accepting the memorandum, Mandla Mhlongo, Area 1 regional manager, said: "We will address the challenges raised and contained in the memorandum."
Departmental spokesperson Desmond Motha could neither confirm nor deny the allegations of deaths at the hospital.