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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Tembisa Hospital where 10 babies died ‘not appropriately resourced’

27 January 2020

The visiting SA Human Rights Commission was informed of numerous challenges faced by the hospital that led to the death of the babies.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says while it is satisfied with interventions put in place by Tembisa Hospital to prevent any further deaths, it is concerned that it is not appropriately resourced compared to other hospitals in Gauteng.
The SAHRC visited the hospital on Monday following the death of 10 babies in November and December last year due to a carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) outbreak.
The commission said the hospital had the second-highest number of newborns after Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, but does not have the same equipment as the latter.

“If you look at the resources, there is a disparity in terms of the allocation of resources and the demand for services so we are calling on the [health] department to look at resource allocation, particularly for Tembisa Hospital,” the SAHRC’s acting legal head, Buang Jones, said.
During the visit with hospital management, Jones added the commission was informed of numerous challenges faced by the hospital that led to the death of the babies.
Among them were overcrowding, staff shortages and ageing infrastructure.
The hospital has since received additional nurses to ease staff shortages in the neonatal wards as well as diverting patients to other hospitals to avoid overcrowding.
Jones said the hospital also informed the commission it would be renovating the building sometime this year.
“We are satisfied with the short- and long-term interventions they have put in place. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
The hospital has also promised to furnish the SAHRC with periodic reports.
Jones said it also confirmed to the commission that the neonatal ward had 60 beds at the time of the deaths.
The SAHRC will be undertaking a follow-up visit to the hospital to monitor the interventions put in place.
“Of course, the families of the babies have a right to seek recourse against the hospital but at this stage they have not indicated if they will seek legal recourse. But the hospital has been very active in ensuring they get the necessary counselling,” Jones said.

Source: The Citizen

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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