By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
The South Rand Hospital continues to have a high proportion of births to foreign mothers, with 843 out of 3042 babies (28%) born to mothers with non-South African citizenship in 2014.
This information is disclosed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
Foreign births have risen from 258 in 2011 to 671 in 2012 and 920 in 2013.
According to Mahlangu, the high number of foreign births is because “the catchment area has a large population of non-South African citizens”.
She says that no patient who is admitted in labour is turned away because this is an emergency condition and they cannot be refused access to care.
But in normal circumstances, patients are assessed and relevant legal documents are requested, including medical referral letters from countries of origin for non-South African citizens.
Most of the foreign mothers are from Zimbabwe (432), followed by Congo (134), Democratic Republic of Congo (92), Mozambique (46) and 40 each from Malawi and Nigeria.
MEC Mahlangu has previously exaggerated the number of foreign patients in Gauteng hospitals by saying that very often “nine out of ten patients are not South African”.
Future policy should be based on accurate statistics and measures that address the broader problem of why there are so many foreign patients in our hospitals, mostly from the rest of Africa.