Tembisa Hospital in desperate need of upgrades and supplies

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL

DA Shadow MEC of Social Development

During a recent oversight visit to the Tembisa Hospital I witnessed severe staff, equipment and supply shortages at a facility that serves a community of over 200 000 people.

The maternity ward alone is staffed with only three nurses and delivers on average 50 babies a day. Further, due to the absence of a delivery theatre in the labour ward, expecting mothers are moved to the general surgical ward for caesareans deliveries.

Most wards had non-working hand sterilization equipment; increasing the risk of patient infection. The Burns Unit usually does amazing work; however the theatre in this ward is also non-operational from damage caused by heavy rain.

Adding to these issues, the hospital also caters for residents from Diepsloot – who travel from 30 kilometres away to use the Tembisa Hospital as opposed to their local Helen Joseph Hospital.

In light of this visit, I will be tabling questions to the Gauteng MEC of Health, Mr Qedani Mahlangu, to establish:

  1. Why the blood bank is experiencing such heavy shortages?
  2. Whether steps have been taken to install a theatre in the maternity ward?
  3. Whether the health Department has made efforts to recruit more nurses?
  4. When is the theatre in the Burns Unit expected to be fixed?
  5. Why patients are travelling from Diepsloot to this hospital despite their locality to Helen Joseph Hospital?

The staff shortage at this hospital coupled with the lack of equipment and essential supplies cannot be ignored. This only impacts on the quality of care that patients receive and increases the risk for infection and further complications.

Given the shortfalls that Tembisa Hospital faces; I would like to acknowledge Sister Ramale who I met during my visit.

Sister Ramale leads a team of nurses who look after 70 premature babies. She encourages mothers to practice the Kangaroo mother care technique. The Kangaroo mother care technique is one in which breastfed premature infants remain in skin-to-skin contact on the mothers chest as opposed to being placed in an incubator – which leads to lasting positive brain development. Sister Ramale’s passion for her job and caring for the community is inspiring. On behalf of the DA we applaud her for her excellence.