Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, the world third largest medical facility in Soweto is experiencing a food crisis, making it difficult for nurses and doctors to provide medicines to admitted patients.
The recent food shortages at the hospital is linked to R226m owed to 2,477 suppliers, as revealed last week at a Gauteng Legislature’s Finance Committee.
Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Health, Michele Clarke said that the hospital has been experiencing shortage of food supply for the past three weeks.
“Doctors and nurses have to reach deep into their own pockets to feed patients because they can’t treat them with oral medication if they haven’t eaten,” said Clarke.
To make matters worse, Clarke said the hospital would lose another 400 posts because temporary COVID-19 contract had not been renewed.
She said that the administration has yet to pay service providers, interns and staff – overtime.
“Since the beginning of the year, the DA has highlighted the growing desperate situation at the hospital, but neither Gauteng Health Department nor Prime Minister David Makhura intervened.”
She said if there is no response, the hospital could soon face another Life Esidemeni disaster.
She said her party has also written to the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio on Health, Dr. Kenneth Jacobs and Health Department Director-General, Nicholas Crisp to address the dire situation as a matter of urgency.
Clark said the DA has also filed a complaint with health ombudsman.
According to Clarke, DA will be conducting an urgent oversight at Baragwaneth Hospital on Monday and will report all the findings to the South African Human Rights Commission.
“We will do our best to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Not only the dignity and health of the patients are seriously affected, but also the well-being of the hospital staff are our concerns.”
Clarke added that the frequent shortage of hospital staff needed to be addressed including poor financial mismanagement.