Hospital unit closed after babies died in a bacterial outbreak

Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital in Vooslorus
Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital in Vooslorus
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

The Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, has shut down the unit where babies have been dying in the past month.

Two babies have been confirmed to have died after the hospital experienced an outbreak of the carbapenem-resistant acinetobacter (CRA).

During an unannounced visit to the hospital, MEC for health in Gauteng Gwen Romokgopa found that the hospital had taken steps to prevent the spreading of the disease.

Ramokgopa inspected the hospitals neonatal ward where the babies had died.

"We must acknowledge that outbreaks do happen and this is a new hospital. We must commend the nurses' swift actions as this could have gotten bigger," she said.

The MEC said they were looking into what caused the disease.

"I asked the head of department yesterday to come here with the team; he has been with the team here to look at the protocols and proper investigation is undertaken.

"In addition, I have also asked the National Institute for Communicable Diseases' outbreak unit to also come in case we need to know the source."

Ramokgopa said the investigation would use the swabs that were used on the affected babies in order to prevent a recurrence of the disease.

Sibongile Govender, who is a nurse at the hospital, said they had worked hard to minimise the outbreak.

“We did our best to minimise the disease from spreading by following the safety procedures such as washing our hands and wearing gloves before handling the babies,” Govender said.

Another nurse, Adelaide Seerane, told Ramokgopa that they were understaffed and the hospital needed more nurses in order to lighten the workload.

Earlier this week, staff at the hospital protested and called for the hospital’s CEO Nomonde Mqhayi-Mbambo to step down amid complaints that she failed to take steps after the outbreak of the deadly bacteria, among other issues.

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