21 Bloemhof babies admitted to hospital

2014-06-03 09:57

A total of 21 babies from Bloemhof, North West, have been admitted to hospital with diarrhoea since last week, the provincial health department has said.

Eleven babies had been admitted to Bloemhof Hospital, while another 10 had been transferred to bigger hospitals in Klerksdorp and Christiana, spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said today.

This comes after more than 300 people had experienced diarrhoea in the area due to a water contamination that had left the town without water last week.

“Since then, we saw the number of people coming in decreasing,” he said.

Between Wednesday and Friday, about 67 people visited hospital with symptoms of diarrhoea.

Lekgethwane said yesterday that three babies had died from diarrhoea.

The Lekwa-Teemane municipality shut down its water supply system more than a week ago. On Friday, the national water affairs department said the system had been cleaned and sanitised and water was restored on Thursday evening.

But residents said the water coming out of the taps was still brown on Friday and residents were asked to boil the water before using it. Water samples were taken for testing, but the outcome is not yet known.

Lekgethwane said health education and awareness had continued in the area.

“We believe the water has been purified, but the department of health continues to encourage residents to continue boiling water,” he said.

“We estimate that for the next two weeks they should continue to boil water. In the meantime, we will continue testing waters samples.”

Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s office said yesterday that Lekwa-Teemane municipal manager Andrew Makwapane had been suspended amid the water contamination crisis in Bloemhof.

“The suspension ... follows a meeting ... established by the premier to look into challenges facing the municipality and visits to families that lost three infants over the weekend,” said spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele.

He said a forensic investigation was under way and that a preliminary report was expected.

A special meeting of the provincial executive council will be held on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

“A feedback meeting with the community is to be held on Sunday afternoon after a report is finalised on Friday,” he said.

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