Health department breaks its silence over the 'Thembisa 10' babies
'It cannot be that 10 or 8 babies are born and that no evidence of their whereabouts or existence can be established'
“It cannot be that 10 or 8 babies are born and that no evidence of their whereabouts or existence can be established.”
This is according to the national health department, as it broke its silence on the saga of the so-called “Thembisa 10" babies.
The comment comes after allegations this week by Independent Media — which was the first to report on the apparent birth of the decuplets last Tuesday — that government spheres at both national and provincial level were involved in a cover-up of the babies' births.
In a statement on Friday evening, the national health department said it noted “with dismay and great disappointment” the claims by Independent Media, particularly those against the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.
“This relates to successive stories published by the Independent Media group that Gosiame Sithole has given birth to decuplets at the hospital a week ago. Mysteriously, the location of the infants was never established,” the statement read.
“We have taken these allegations made against government and healthcare professionals very seriously. The results of our preliminary investigation once again confirmed that there were no decuplets in the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, as well that there was no way that Tshwane District Hospital, that is not even capacitated to deliver twins, can deliver 10 babies.
“Clinicians at both the Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Tshwane District Hospital have confirmed that there is no record of delivery of the decuplets in any of the public health facilities in Gauteng. It is not clear as to where the delivery had happened.”
The department described Independent Media's allegations as “a journalistic error”.
“It cannot be that 10 or 8 babies are born and that no evidence of their whereabouts or existence can be established.
“Given the magnitude of the allegations, we invite Independent Media, which has insinuated wrongdoing on the part of health professionals and government, to assist Ms Sithole to pursue a complaint with the health ombudsman for the alleged mistreatment of the patient at any health facility,” the department said.
Earlier on Friday, social development minister Lindiwe Zulu said she was waiting for consolidated information before “going public” on the saga.
Zulu told TimesLIVE she held a meeting with the provincial department of social development and the health department and “we have a few loose ends that needed to be sorted out” before briefing the public about what really happened.
Both the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and the provincial health department have said they are unable to verify the births of the decuplets.