Rats‚ cats‚ but no beds in public hospitals - DA

14 June 2018 - 13:51 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
The DA has revealed that some women and pregnant mothers have been made to share beds in some state hospitals.
The DA has revealed that some women and pregnant mothers have been made to share beds in some state hospitals.
Image: Tyler Olson/ 123RF.com. File photo

Rats feeding on corpses‚ patients sleeping on the floor and mothers sharing a bed in maternity wards‚ are some of the gruesome discoveries the Democratic Alliance (DA) has made in some public hospitals around the country.

These chilling revelations regarding the state of the health care system were made by the party's provincial shadow ministers of health‚ who embarked on an oversight inspection of public hospitals and clinics as part of its #HospitalHealthCheck campaign.

"There is lack of accountability in the public health sector. The department has deteriorated under the watch of the current MEC‚" said KwaZulu Natal shadow MEC for health Dr Imran Keeka.

"The infrastructure is collapsing. We've heard stories of rats feeding on a corpse in one of the hospitals‚" Keeka said. He said he was told on one of the visits that there were 150 cats in the hospital but the health MEC brushed it off as a "fairy tale".

The majority of the hospitals in KZN‚ according to Keeka‚ had broken surgery equipment‚ a "chronic" shortage of medicines‚ a shortage of vaccines and staff shortages. "KZN has vacancies that amount to 8 000."

Relaying his experience during his visits to public health facilities in Limpopo‚ shadow minister for health in the province Langa Bodlani said: "The provision of healthcare in the province is in ICU. Before they can hire any specialists‚ they need to settle accruals amounting to billions.

"Of the 230 babies born‚ 64 die every month."

He said in one of the hospitals‚ the DA discovered that pregnant women and mothers were sharing beds. "Two mothers have to share a bed. Imagine a mother giving birth under those conditions."

There was also no panado syrup‚ a painkiller for babies‚ in one of the hospitals‚ Bodlani said.

Gauteng's shadow minister for health Jack Bloom said the province had the largest budget but it was" appallingly" spent.

He said cancer patients‚ some of whom come from different provinces to get treatment in Gauteng‚ had slim chances of survival as there are long waiting lists. "The budget is so badly spent that we have broken machinery."

He said the department was not spending what was allocated to it. "It's incredible that there was unspent money to fix the problems."

Dr Tutu Faleni‚ the North West's health shadow minister‚ attributed the problems to the ANC's "poor governance".

The revelations made by the DA on the state of the healthcare system in the country come at the same time as reports that a hospital in Limpopo is feeding patients expired food.