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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Gauteng health department says it’s addressing challenges at Rahima Moosa hospital after doctor’s criticism

An open letter by Dr Tim De Maayer said a lack of resources is resulting in the death of babies

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) said while there are challenges within the health system in the province and in the country, the Gauteng health system remains intact.

This come after a recent open letter, by paediatrician Dr Tim De Maayer to the Department of Health, detailed the devastating consequences a failing public health system is having on young patients.

The doctor said a lack of resources is resulting in the death of babies at the hospital.

De Maayer has been a member of the Rahima Moosa paediatrics department for well over a decade, according to Professor Ashraf Coovadia, the head of the department.

In his letter, De Maayer described the situation at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, where ongoing problems such as load shedding, water shortages and an overburdening of the system are affecting the health and lives of young patients.

However, the GDoH said despite De Maayer’s outcry over the state of healthcare provision at the facility, the system remains intact and continues to service millions of patients annually from within the province and from neighbouring provinces and countries.

While the Gauteng Department of Health stated that the general issues raised will be dealt with separately, it has addressed the concerns raised by De Maayer, including services interruptions, availability of supply, CT scans and hospital acquired infections.

ALSO READ: Rahima Moosa hospital: Pregnant moms’ overcrowding nightmare

The department said it has also made a submission to the City of Johannesburg to be excluded from the ongoing load shedding schedule to ensure minimal interruption to services.

“In addition, the [Rahima Moosa hospital] has ensured that there are alternative measures put in place for when there are water supply challenges at the facility. These include a borehole which was donated by the Gift of the Givers, as well as water tanks provided by the Johannesburg Water.”

“The main challenge is with access to 24-hour laboratory services. The hospital relies on the neighbouring Helen Joseph Hospital for this service. This is compounded by the impact of the [Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital] situation. The department is considering options to further address this challenge,” the department said.

“Apart from challenges of overcrowding and staff shortages, the recorded rate of hospital acquired infections in the hospital is 1.38% on average for the last 12 months. There is a functional infection control process in the facility,” it added.

The department said to mitigate the issue of stock availability there is a formal working agreement with neighbouring facilities to augment each other’s capacity, adding the appointment of a dedicated stock controller has been finalised to assist ward stock rooms in the management of essential supply stock levels at the hospital.

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