PRETORIA, August 21 – The Gauteng health department on Wednesday said it was “thoroughly” probing the death of a newborn baby at the notorious Mamelodi Day Hospital in Pretoria, after the mother, a Zimbabwean national, was allegedly mistreated by nurses and forced to give birth whilst standing up.
“Upon learning about the incident, the Tshwane District Health management reacted swiftly by appointing a Clinical Specialist: Obstetrician and Gynaecologist to investigate the incident. In addition to this, the hospital has been in touch with the family and offered them psychological support,” said Kwara Kekana, spokesperson for Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku.
“The department also notes the xenophobic comments alleged to have been made by one member of the staff. These allegations are being taken very seriously and being looked into. As a department, we condemn all forms of racism and discrimination, including xenophobia.”
Kekana emphasised that the South African Bill of Rights “states unequivocally that access to healthcare is a basic human right and therefore, nobody should be denied access to healthcare in any of our facilities irrespective of nationality, race, class or gender”.
Theresa Ngwendu, 30, was reportedly rushed to the hospital a week ago as she was going into labour.
She said a nurse at the hospital refused to assist her on arrival and told her “this is not Zimbabwe”.
Her water broke inside the maternity ward around 6am.
She said her baby fell head first onto the hospital floor and was immediately declared dead by the nursing staff present.
Civil rights movement #NotInMyName said it has now opened a criminal case against the hospital staff.
“We have managed, together with our stakeholders, the TAC [Treatment Action Campaign] to speak to the family of Theresa and Tinashe Zisani – the parents of the baby that passed away in an despicable manner at Mamelodi Death Hospital due to the negligence of some nurses. We have managed to open a criminal case and a murder inquest has started,” #NotInMyName secretary general Themba Masango told the African News Agency (ANA) in Pretoria.
“We are, however, questioning … why did the nurses want to hurry the burial of the baby? What is the hospital management going to do regarding these evil nurses? Will Denosa [Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa] come out and condemn its members for such abhorrent behaviour?”
In May, the Mamelodi Day Hospital made news headlines after the abuse of frail 76-year-old Martha Marais who had been tied to a steel hospital bench came to light. Images of Marais tied to a bench in the waiting area at the hospital went viral, sparking massive condemnation of the hospital by social media users.
At the time, Masango said the Mamelodi Hospital was notorious for poor treatment of patients.
“We hope that the new Health Minister Zweli Mkhize intervenes urgently to fix the horrors at this hospital,” said Masango.
– African News Agency (ANA)