LEPHALALE — Langa Bodlani, Member of Provincial Legislature (MPL) and Constituency Head for the DA Phambili North (Lephalale and Thabazimbi) and Stephen Manamela, DA Limpopo Deputy Leader, visited Witpoort Hospital on Monday 14 May. The visit was part of a series of visits to health organizations in an effort to improve health care in the Province.
Some shocking discoveries about the critical state of the hospital and services were made during their visit. The most prominent problems the hospital and general health care are facing is:
- There are only four doctors employed by the hospital and one of them is on sick leave due to burnout syndrome.
- Witpoort Hospital serves the residents of 26 villages as well as some residents from Botswana.
- The staff has to use water from a borehole and since there is sand and deposits in the borehole water, the machines are damaged by it.
- Bodlani says there is a purification system available at the hospital, but it isn’t working and there is apparently no money to repair it.
- There is only one sonar machine.
- The air cons in the hospital as well as in the pharmacy are not working.
- Two fridges in the pharmacy are not working.
- The stoves in the kitchen don’t work, none of the geysers are in working order, and thus there is no hot water. The staff has to boil water to wash the patients.
- There are no mobile oxygen masks or cylinders.
- The standby generator is faulty and allegedly February 2017 was the last time maintenance was done on the generator.
- There is no maintenance team.
- The maternity ward consists of one room for delivery, pre- and post-natal care.
- The absence of an isolation ward risks contagious and life-threatening diseases to spread between patients and staff.
- There are no cleaners in the dispensary or the hospital.
- There are currently 16 professional nurses on the staff of which four are advanced midwives, meaning each one of them works an excessive amount of hours each month. As staff are only allowed to work a certain number of hours per month, it may happen that there are insufficient nursing staff in cases of emergency.
Bodlani said to Mogol Post that the conditions in Witpoort Hospital violate the users’ right to health and in his opinion, the entire Limpopo Department of Health should be placed under Administration.
“The Provincial Department of Health has unpaid invoices from last year to the amount of R1,1 billion and the budget for regular expenses is R400 million per year. This department must be placed under administration. The Provincial Government should interfere as there is clearly a lack of financial management and the problem reflects on this hospital,” he concludes.
Bodlani says when meeting the staff, one can see the despair on their faces, they want to provide proper medical services to the community, but they are held back by a system that doesn’t work.