The Limpopo department of health has suspended a nurse at Madimbo Clinic outside Musina after a young mother gave birth at the gates of the clinic on Wednesday morning.
A young Limpopo woman gave birth outside the gates of a clinic on Wednesday because the security guards refused to allow her to enter the facility, which is meant to be open 24/7, saying the nurses were still sleeping.
The woman walked to the clinic in the early hours of the morning after her water broke.
But she was denied entry by the security guards, who said nurses and management had instructed them not to open the gates as they were still sleeping.
The woman then gave birth outside the gates in full view of passers-by and the security guards.
According to the department, while the clinic does not operate on a 24-hour basis, nurses were supposed to respond and help the woman on an emergency basis.
Limpopo health spokesperson, Neil Shikwambane, said in a statement: “The clinic does not operate for 24 hours, but works on a call system. He said nurses working at the facility sleep at the clinic and when a patient presents to the facility with an emergency, they were expected to wake up and assist them.”
The department has sent a team to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the occurrence of this incident so that it can act accordingly.
“The mother and the baby were since taken to the nearest hospital and they are both doing well,” said Shikwambana.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo said: “This incident is very worrying as this clinic is meant to operate on a 24-hour basis.
“It completely strips this young mother of her dignity. Not only did the Limpopo department of health yet again fail a resident, incidents like this can result in legal claims against the department,” said DA member of the Limpopo provincial legislature Risham Maharaj on Wednesday.
Maharaj said the department of health in Limpopo was currently facing legal claims amounting to millions of rands.
“The department is already in a precarious financial position and has over R9 billion in medico-legal claims against it.
“It cannot allow its facilities and staff to ill-treat and neglect patients in this manner,” said Maharaj.
“We are calling upon MEC [Phophi] Ramathuba and her department to investigate the circumstances around this incident, as well as the reasons why the clinic was not open for 24-hour service, as it should be.
“Good and quality healthcare in rural areas needs to be prioritised,” he said.
Health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana responded: “We are still investigating. Once done, we will revert to you.”