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Over 800 infants tragically lose their lives at Tembisa Hospital since 2020



Tembisa Hospital - TPTH

The Gauteng Health Department has revealed that a distressing number of 788 newborns have lost their lives at Tembisa Hospital since 2020 due to various factors such as infections, complications related to prematurity, hypoxia, and congenital anomalies.

Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko addressed questions from the Democratic Alliance (DA) during a session at the provincial legislature on Tuesday as reported by News 24. The queries pertained to the conditions of the maternity and neonatal wards at Tembisa Hospital, as well as the number of births and infant fatalities recorded between 2020 and 2022. Specifically, the DA sought information on the number of infants who experienced brain damage during this period.

Nkomo-Ralehoko disclosed that a total of 50,000 babies were delivered at Tembisa Hospital over the past three years. This figure shows 237 infants died in 2020/21, followed by 271 in 2021/22 and 280 in 2022/23.

“In an effort to enhance the standard of care at the neonatal and maternity department of Tembisa Hospital, the 2023/24 demand plan and National Tertiary Services Grant business plan include the provision of essential equipment such as an EEG machine, MRI scan, and ultrasound machine equipped with cranial and cardiac probes,” stated Nkomo-Ralehoko.

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Addressing the challenges faced by the facility, including staff and equipment shortages, the MEC confirmed that measures were being taken to address these issues. “To augment the current staff, the hospital has filled 25 out of 32 recently advertised positions. Moreover, 15 professional nurses and 10 enrolled nurses commenced their duties last week. We are in the process of filling three positions for enrolled nursing assistants, with job advertisements having closed last month,” she added.

DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom expressed concern over the rising percentage of deaths caused by infections, which had increased to 37% compared to 25.1% in 2020. Similarly, hypoxia-related deaths had risen to 15.2% compared to 11% the previous year and 14.8% the year before.

Bloom voiced his apprehension, stating, “This disturbing upward trend in deaths could have been prevented with better care. While the department asserts that no cases of negligence have been definitively established, they do acknowledge resource constraints resulting from an overwhelming number of patients.”

Drawing a parallel to the infant mortality cases at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg’s southern region, Bloom criticised officials for seemingly refusing to acknowledge that many babies could have been saved had sufficient staff and equipment available.

“In recent years, Tembisa Hospital has been plagued by scandals involving massive irregular and wasteful expenditure amounting to R1 billion, according to a report from the Special Investigating Unit. This demonstrates that the issue lies not in a lack of funding but in the shortage of competent and ethical management, which tragically condemns many babies to avoidable deaths,” he concluded.


Also Read:

Explosive Investigation Rocks Tembisa Hospital: Shocking Details Emerge on Corruption Scandal

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Photo: Facebook / @Tembisa Hospital – TPTH

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