Following an oversight visit to Mamelodi Hospital in Tshwane, the DA says it is not surprised by recent reports of a woman left with little choice but to give birth standing up, stating the maternity section is completely understaffed.
DA MP Siviwe Gwarube and Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom visited the hospital on Monday morning during an unannounced inspection following the story of Theresa Ngwendu whose baby allegedly died after falling to the ground in early August.
News24 previously reported Ngwendu, 30, said she was rushed to the hospital on the morning of August 7 after going into labour.
Upon entering the hospital, she requested the assistance of a nurse, explaining she was about to give birth.
“I told one of the nurses, I want help, but the nurse [was] ignoring me,” Ngwendu said.
Instead of being helped, the nurse allegedly told her to close her legs and sit down.
Moments later, she gave birth, while standing up, resulting in the newborn falling to the floor.
“After the baby landed on the floor, she [the nurse] came, shouting ‘this is not Zimbabwe, this is South Africa’.”
Ngwendu alleged the baby had died after hitting his head on the floor.
A criminal case has been opened and the Gauteng Department of Health is investigating the alleged incident.
Following their visit, both Gwarube and Bloom said they were not surprised by the incident.
“We can understand why these things happened. This hospital is completely and utterly understaffed,” Gwarube said.
She added the maternity ward currently had two midwives instead of 12, and only one doctor on duty.
Gwarube said there was also no space in the maternity ward for the number of women giving birth and the hospital gave mothers up to six hours to vacate their beds after giving birth, to make space for the next woman in labour.
Bloom said nurses in the maternity section have been promised that vacant posts would be filled and he hoped the maternity ward would also be extended as it was “totally overcrowded”.
Last week, the spokesperson for Health MEC Bandile Masuku, Kwara Kekana, said the department had received a report from the hospital about the incident, noting it had been in touch with the family for redress.
In June, the SA Human Rights Commission visited the hospital after news broke that an elderly lady had been tied to a bench.
Then, hospital officials complained to the commission about understaffing and the serious shortage of beds for patients.
Staff also detailed their struggles in the hospital over capacity to the commission.
The hospital’s quantity assurance officer, Maesela Phogole, promised to fully cooperate with it to ensure longer-lasting solutions would be found.