Rob Ferreira Hospital suffers through load shedding with dysfunctional generators

Jane Sithole, MPL

Spokesperson on Health and Social Development:

There seems to be no end in sight for the problems plaguing Rob Ferreira Hospital.

Last week, during a visit by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the new CEO and hospital managers assured the Commission and all media present that the hospital’s three generators were in working condition. The DA has found out that this information is incorrect as the hospital’s generators have not been working since July 2014.

The DA has confirmed that, since Eskom’s load shedding was implemented, conditions at Rob Ferreira hospital have been deteriorating rapidly. When the electricity goes off, nursing staff and doctors are expected to keep critical patients, including new born babies, alive by manually bagging patients to keep them breathing until the electricity comes back on. The batteries in the ventilators are also not working, adding to the difficulty of keeping patients alive without electricity.

During load shedding, the temperature in the theatre get as high as 30 degrees Celsius; this increases patients’ risk of contracting secondary infections. It also increases the likelihood of doctors and nursing staff being exposed to harmful bacteria.

The DA has written an urgent letter to Health MEC, Gillion Mashego, urging him to ensure that the generators are immediately repaired or replaced. We have also asked him to ensure that if the department is unable to restore the generators, alternate arrangements for babies and critical patients must be made by moving them to facilities that can provide the healthcare that they desperately need.

Rob Ferreira Hospital services thousands of people and cannot afford to bring its operations to a standstill every time the lights go off. As Eskom’s power cuts continue, it is vital that the Department of Health ensures that this hospital has functional generators so that lives are not lost due to load shedding.