Pregnant women 'sleep on floor' at Rustenburg hospital

10 February 2020 - 13:30
By IAVAN PIJOOS
Reports at the weekend suggested pregnant women have been forced to sleep on the floor due to a lack of space at the Shimankana Tabane Hospital.
Image: Tyler Olson/ 123RF.com Reports at the weekend suggested pregnant women have been forced to sleep on the floor due to a lack of space at the Shimankana Tabane Hospital.

Plans have been put in place to refurbish some of the old buildings at the Shimankana Tabane Hospital in Rustenburg, the department of health said on Monday.

“One of the old buildings has, for example, been refurbished for use as an extension of the outpatient department. The district is also advocating for a district hospital in the long term,” said department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane.

This comes after reports at the weekend suggested that pregnant women are forced to sleep on the floor due to a lack of space in the hospital.

Women who recently gave birth at the hospital told Newzroom Afrika they were forced to sleep on hospital benches and in wheelchairs for several days.

Lekgethwane said the lack of space was largely due to population growth, an influx of migrant miners, an increase in non-communicable diseases and the fact that the hospital was historically built for “a small white minority during apartheid”.

“It is, however, important to mention that while there is shortage of space, care is taken to ensure patients are treated with the dignity they deserve.

“In some cases family members and friends visiting patients wait in open spaces in the hospital and can be mistaken for patients.

“While space is limited in the hospital, patients cannot be turned away,” he said.

He said the department had partnerships with private hospitals, including facilities at local mines where patients can be admitted.

“Our doctors then attend such patients at those private facilities. However, the overflow still remains.”