KZN Health MEC launches probe into death of young mother and newborn baby at hospital


DURBAN, June 5 – KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has promised stern action should anyone be found guilty of negligence following the death of a 23-year-old mother and her unborn baby at the General Justice Gizenga Memorial Hospital (GJGMH) in KwaDukuza last week.

During an unannounced visit to Isithebe Clinic at Mandeni on Tuesday, Simelane-Zulu announced that an investigation will commence immediately probing the circumstances around how the expectant mother, Sithembile Shabane, was managed from the time she arrived at the clinic on Friday morning.

Simelane-Zulu said the investigation will extend to allegations of staff negligence; the delayed arrival of the ambulance that eventually transported her to GJGMH; as well as how the would-be first-time mother was further managed at the hospital, where she eventually lost her life in the early hours of Saturday.

The incident has sparked anger in the community, with some residents threatening to march to the clinic and cause damage to it.

Simelane-Zulu said that the government had worked hard to reduce the incidence of maternal and child mortality and that such incidents were a major cause for concern.

“We received a call on Saturday from a resident, as well as from the local councillor, complaining that a young person had died under suspicious circumstances. Unfortunately, this 23-year-old who passed away was pregnant, and lost her life along with her baby when she got to the hospital,” she said.

“The community was quite upset by this as there were allegations of negligence on the part of the staff, so we had to come here to see for ourselves, and engage with the staff and community and find out what actually happened. Fortunately, the family was represented, and the community was there, and we were able to have a discussion.”

Simelane-Zulu said the department will get a report in a month’s time and will have a report-back session at the clinic.

Vusi Hlekwayo, a representative of the Shabane family, thanked the MEC for her speedy intervention.

“We are glad that the MEC has come over to see the situation. But we are sad that we’ve just lost our loved one due to the ‘negligence’ that occurred at a government hospital.  It gives us great pain that someone has passed away due to ‘inadequate’ care,” Hlekwayo said.

“We plead with the MEC for this matter not to be taken lightly, and followed through to a point where we are satisfied as a family.”

African News Agency (ANA)