Root out incompetence at public healthcare facilities

Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa
Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa

I hope one will see improvement in entire health department

This an open letter to Gauteng health MEC, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa:

Dear Ma’am

Let me start by congratulating you on your appointment as the MEC.

I am prompted to write this letter by the death of a three-year-old child who died after being at the Incredible Happenings Ministries in Katlehong.

We saw on TV when you personally visited the Daveyton Main Clinic, the clinic where the nurses allegedly turned away the mother of the child because of lack of intravenous drips, according to reports.

During your visit you found intravenous drips were in fact available. The question MEC is, what type of a message was sent to you as the political head of the Gauteng health department, and to South Africans at large, with regard to the conduct and behaviour of those nurses?

The conduct of those nurses is perhaps a sample of what transpires at most, if not all, public health centres in the country. One goes to a public hospital and is kept there for hours before being helped. Not long ago, my relative arrived at the Jubilee Hospital at Temba, in Hammanskraal, Tshwane, at 6pm but waited for help until midday the following day.

She had hoped to be seen by a gynaecologist but we finally requested for her to be discharged as we realised she was waiting for nothing.

We took her to a private hospital where she was urgently helped. It is known to us as residents of Hammanskraal that people who arrive at Jubilee Hospital in the afternoon are likely to come back home the following day. It cannot be right, MEC, that those uncomfortable steel chairs be turned into beds for the patients.

I humbly request you to take what happened at Daveyton as a wake-up call that perhaps a lot of unfavourable things are happening in your department. If a public hospital is running short of doctors, nursing staff and other resources like medication; then the question is: who is to blame?

Does the CEO of the hospital not have the capacity to perform in ensuring that the hospital is fully equipped? Or is the CEO doing his/her job but unfortunately those who must support him/her from above are failing to do so?

There is nothing wrong for the hospital CEO or clinic manager, for example, to walk around and see what is taking place at ground level. As long as there are doctors and nurses who do not treat patients with love, care and respect, what happened at Daveyton will be an ongoing practice.

It pains me that it was also reported that the mother of the child had to clean the mess on the floor her child made because of diarrhoea. It shows that that heart-breaking situation meant nothing to those nurses.

I beg you, MEC, let there be proper and good service delivery. Let your office ensure that there are meetings between you and the CEOs and managers in which you get reports about the status of the centres they are managing. Let the MEC personally engage in frequent visits to see what is happening. Let serious measures be taken against those who are failing to help the people.

It is very sad and absolutely unbecoming, MEC, that those who are employed to save lives are somehow the ones who contribute to unnecessary deaths.

I hope one will see some changes and improvement in healthcare in Gauteng. It is what people want.

I thank you and wish you a happy 2018. 

Maudu Morudu