Millions budgeted yet hospital begs for water

Jane Sithole, MPL

Spokesperson on Health and Social Development:

Over the past three financial years, the department of Health has budgeted a total of R129 million for hospital upgrades yet Mmametlhake hospital still struggles to access a steady water supply.

The hospital which services the whole of Pankop and Siyabuswa area in Dr. JS Moroka municipality has had ongoing water supply problems which prompted the municipality to supply it with water tanks now and then.

This past weekend, the water tanks did not arrive leaving the hospital with blocked toilets and no means to perform proper infection control.

In the department’s annual report, there is no evidence of the millions budgeted for upgrades ever being used. The hospital was renovated about two years ago but renovations are futile if there is no viable water supply.

Mmametlhake Hospital is also severely understaffed, resulting in patients having to wait the whole day just to be seen. This past weekend, patients had to be turned back because the doctor was not available. A patient was seen writhing on the floor in severe pain without anybody to assist him.

The DA call on Health MEC Gillion Mashego to urgently intervene and ensure that a long term solution is found. To this end, the DA will seek answers from the MEC regarding the R129 million budgeted for and what it was spent on. We will also appeal with the department to put together an urgent action plan to ensure that hospitals are granted access to basic necessities so that they can function.

Rural hospitals often service large areas and for many poor communities, this is their only hope. The department of health needs to pay urgent attention to water supply and staff shortages at Mmametlhake hospital to alleviate long queues and to ensure that the hospital is safe and hygienic for all users.