PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS NEEDED TO SAVE SICK CHILDREN IN GAUTENG

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

More than a thousand children die every year in Gauteng hospitals because of lack of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds.

This is my estimate based on the number of children who don’t get specialist care because of the ICU bed shortage in Gauteng hospitals.

As reported today, doctors at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital send at least one severely ill child who needs specialised care to a general ward every day. There are only 14 beds for both children and babies at this hospital, whereas doctors say another 28 beds are needed.

Doctors have to make agonising decisions as to which children to save at all Gauteng hospitals as they are short of ICU beds.

The Gauteng Health Department should partner with private health facilities to increase specialist care for children. This would assist in donor funding both locally and overseas.

We should be utterly ashamed at the neglect of care of vulnerable children. It should be a high priority to improve specialist care of sick children.

I urge all people of goodwill to donate to the Wits Paediatric Fund and to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital which is due to open 2014.

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