Nurses 'burnt out' at clinic that turned away pregnant woman‚ says SAHRC

Elina Maseko with her baby, Precious, at home in Mamelodi East.
Elina Maseko with her baby, Precious, at home in Mamelodi East.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says no action has been taken against officials who allegedly turned away a heavily pregnant woman who ended up giving birth outside a clinic in Pretoria.

Gauteng manager at the commission Buang Jones said on Monday that the Stanza Bopape Community Health Centre in Mamelodi was not up to standard.

"There is no proper ventilation‚ the clinic does not have a quality assurance manager. The manager of the facility was conveniently not present‚" said Jones after visiting the clinic on Monday.

He said that there was sufficient land adjacent to the clinic that could be developed to expand the facility‚ "as the maternity ward is too small. No filing system. Staff shortage. Maternity ward only has eight beds. Only two midwives and a student nurse. No administrative support‚ [they] only have one computer."

He said some nurses were burnt out‚ while there is no doctor at the facility and patients were not assessed prior to treatment.

'There are many challenges. We will send formal correspondence to the department of health into the health facility as a whole. There’s a need for an urgent funded plan to address the challenges. Most of the healthcare facilities are in a dire state‚" Jones said.

Elina Maseko‚ who lives in an RDP house in Mamelodi‚ was on her way to hospital when a neighbour's car ran out of petrol close to the clinic on June 30.

She was allegedly turned away and told to go to Mamelodi Hospital without being examined.

Maseko‚ 45‚ allegedly gave birth outside the clinic with the assistance of a relative.

Although she is recovering well‚ she can’t understand why she went through the ordeal.

"Precious [the baby] is healthy and okay. I was in the hospital because my blood pressure was high as a result of the treatment. I want to forget about it. But I always think about it‚ it haunts me. I didn’t deserve that treatment‚ no one does‚" Maseko said.

She said the healthcare officials at the clinic had no regard for her and the baby. "I want them to lose their job. They clearly don’t know how to care for people.

"I’m not happy. This has never happened to me. I can’t forget how I cried out to my niece asking if my child was alive."

The commission launched an investigation into the incident.

The Gauteng health department also launched an inquiry into the matter.


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