The current infrastructure of Tembisa Hospital is limited to cater for the growing population in Ekurhuleni North.
Overcrowding at Tembisa Hospital’s maternity ward is a serious concern and someone has to do something about it.
Tsietsi Makua from Tembisa said they would mobilise the entire community to march against what he termed as ‘injustice’ at the hospital.
“It is really sad that 25 years into our democracy our people have to receive such treatment at the one place where they are to be made to feel safe and better. We need to come together as a community and do something about this,” he said.
He claimed patients and pregnant women in general received unsatisfactory service at the hospital due to a shortage of healthcare professionals.
“It’s not just patients we are worried about. We are equally concerned about the well-being of the few nursing professionals in charge of the maternity ward. There are only two professional nurses manning the maternity ward with over 50 pregnant women. This is not on,” he continued.
A Facebook post, that had gone viral, did not do the hospital any favours either, as it fuelled the community to be even more furious.
The post depicted an overcrowded ward with pregnant women in their hospital robes sharing benches, while others lay in hospital beds.
“This is not a joke anymore. In ward 13 today we have 96 pregnant patients, which means we are caring for 192 souls in a ward that was supposed to occupy 51 patients. That means we have more than 40 patients on the bench. They will sleep there regardless of their conditions, with two right now on the floor,” read the post.
Hospital spokesperson Nothando Mdluli conceded they had been faced with overcrowding and lack of staff.
“The issue of overcrowding in the hospital has been a growing concern. Overcrowding in this regard is a provincial issue with Tembisa Hospital not being the only overcrowded hospital in Gauteng. Unfortunately, the issue of staff shortages is a provincial one, if not a national issue.
“But, the hospital has been given certain posts in nursing. Those posts are still not enough to render optimal services as the hospital is quite big and has more than 21 service areas,” she said.
She argued the hospital was overcrowded due to infrastructural challenges and that it was the only one in Ekurhuleni North with no other regional nor district hospital.
“The hospital was built in 1972. The current infrastructure is limited to cater for the growing population in Ekurhuleni North.
“We service an estimated population of 1.4 million. And being the only hospital here, we cannot turn patients away, especially pregnant mothers, as some have complicated pregnancies. We are forced to service all the patients against all odds.
“We are challenged with overcrowding but we still need to render normal services,” she explained.
“We are the hospital with the second highest number of babies delivered in South Africa. Although we are challenged with overcrowding, we are grateful that we have drastically reduced our maternal deaths, especially the ones which are avoidable. The hospital strives to bring effective service delivery in the midst of these challenges,” she continued.