By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has acknowledged that 13 babies died last year at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital from Klebsiella infection and that overcrowding was a contributing factor.
She said this today in the Gauteng Legislature in response to my oral questions on this matter.
According to Mahlangu, too many mothers are giving birth to underweight babies and this is growing on a daily basis.
More incubators have been purchased but the ward is now full and needs to be expanded, which she is working to do with the Department of Infrastructure Development.
I am saddened by the death of so many babies from a largely avoidable cause.
The issue of overcrowding in the neonatal ward at Bara has been highlighted for many years, including a shocking photo that was published with new-born babies in a box.
I hope that the expansion of the neonatal ward is expedited to avoid any more deaths from Klebsiella and other infections that pose a danger to low birth-weight babies who are vulnerable because their immune systems have not developed.