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Elim ‘no-water’ hospital

The water shortage at Elim Hospital was reported in 2019 when two boreholes servicing the facility dried up.

LIMPOPO – The water shortage at Elim Hospital continues with no immediate solution in sight with some frustrated patients now taking to social media to voice their dissatisfaction.

Patients who need to undergo certain medical procedures that are not performed at Elim Hospital, are apparently transferred to hospitals in Polokwane.

In a video, a person claimed that he was told to be at Elim Hospital very early, as the driver would be there to transport him to Mankweng Hospital.

He arrived at Elim Hospital at 04:00, but had to wait until around 12:00 because of a shortage of hospital vehicles, he is seen saying.

“All the time that we were waiting for the driver, no water was available to drink, and we could not even use the toilet. When the driver finally arrived, we had to wait for some time more as the vehicle then had to be cleaned first.”

This situation at the hospital reportedly started in 2019 when two boreholes servicing the facility dried up. Another borehole was drilled outside the hospital grounds, but it does not produce enough water for the hospital’s needs. The Department of Health blames community members for illegal water connections. Since then, the hospital has been relying on the Vhembe District Municipality to provide them with water tankers, which patients claim only provide water intermittently.

The water tanker delivers water to the hospital.

Despite numerous complaints, the water problem at Elim Hospital has been left unresolved.

One of the patients, whose right hand was broken and who was awaiting an operation, said the shortage of water was a huge problem.

“Sometimes we have running water around 05:00, and at night only for an hour and a half.” Another patient said she felt neglected in terms of healthcare, “and coupled with the struggle for water, we cannot explain the long queue we encounter”.

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), a civil-society organisation, gave the Department of Health and Vhembe District Municipality (VDM) 14 days to respond to matters.

This was during a meeting that was organised by TAC and held on February 8, with members from the municipality and department in attendance.

Matodzi Ralushai, VDM spokesperson, outlined a plan to address the water crisis at Elim Hospital.

“In the short term, the municipality will deliver water. For the medium term, we plan to re-drill two additional boreholes, and in the long term, there are plans to construct a bulk pipeline,” he said.

Contacted for comment, Health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana claimed they were not aware of these issues.

“We have since instructed our EMS team to look into the matter for an improvement or a turnaround. We are working closely with the VDM, together with the traditional leadership and communities in the area, to sort out the problem,” he said.

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