MEC orders probe into baby deaths

2013-01-07 19:04

Johannesburg - Limpopo Health MEC Dr Norman Mabasa has ordered a commission of inquiry into the deaths of four babies at the George Masebe Hospital.

The four babies died between Thursday and Saturday at the district hospital, which is located about 70km east of Mokopane.

Mabasa paid the hospital an unannounced visit today, following media reports that the babies had died as a result of a shortage of doctors.

The commission, said Mabasa, should establish how many doctors were supposed to be on duty, and how many were in fact on duty at the time of the deaths.

At the hospital, Mabasa - a medical doctor by profession - grilled the management and demanded that they submit a detailed report as to what had happened to each baby.

The inquiry, he said, should be completed within a week.

The nursing staff and patients told him of their frustrations as he inspected wards.

Martha Matlala, a nurse who was manning a paediatric ward said, "the last time we saw [a] doctor here was on 29 December. Some of these kids haven’t seen a doctor since 25 December.

"We are traumatised and it's so bad that some of the parents are demanding that their kids be released since there are no doctors."

Patients who were queuing to see doctors told Mabaso that they were told there was only one doctor.

The hospital has 38 funded posts for doctors, but has only eight doctors.

Said Mabaso: "The commission should find out if the deaths are linked to the shortages of doctors, negligence or diseases.

"The situation here is appalling and goes against everything we stand for as a department. Any official found to have acted negligently will be dealt with accordingly."

He also met with the families of the babies and assured them that he would personally report to them what had happened.

"These reports have grossly shocked us; we cannot have a public health system that continues to fail the people entirely dependent on it for their health and their lives," he said.

  • sharon.erwin.96 - 2013-01-07 19:21

    Shhhhhhh - What is that gurgling sound????? Ohhhh I know - It is the sound of another essential service going down the drain!

      werner.nel.984786 - 2013-01-07 19:51

      The ruling party will now appoint a commission of inquiry. The Commission of enquiry will appoint an executive committee. The Exco will conference at a 5 star lodge just outside of Polokwane, and they will return with the solution that a sub committee will have to appointed. A sub committee will be appointed. The sub committee will report directly to the executive committee, and the sub committee will then head of to a 5 star lodge to conference, they will return and recommend that and task team be mobilised. A task team will get appointed, and they will investigate, but they will realise that they can't investigate with out the proper tools and equipment. A consultant will be appointed to investigate what the task team needs Upon the consultants recommendations a tender board will be appointed to put tenders out for the supply and maintenance of the above mentioned tools and equipment. The tender will be awarded to one of the executive committee's family members, but after all the tender money has been spent (including all the money in the tender's contingency budget) and 2 years have gone past, nothing will have been delivered to the task team. Meanwhile the commission, the executive committee, the subcommittee and the task team have been getting monthly salaries Does this sound at all familiar?

  • ian.robertreid - 2013-01-07 19:22

    Maybe 2few doctors 2many babies ~ think about it??

      tersia.louw.12 - 2013-01-07 22:33

      There's no comment above, fannie.mashilo.1.

      kgamadi.kometsi - 2013-01-08 11:01

      Inappropriate statement Ian. Who decides there are too many babies? Your statement is akin to blaming the victim, and has very unfortunate historical connotations.

  • bless.boswell - 2013-01-07 19:27

    Overall, It's the same mentality as sending a heavily pregnant woman away because her blood pressure was too high - she gave birth on the pavement outside the hospital. Why have a hospital at all if it can't function properly? It's better to just shut the doors - then at least people know for sure there's no chance of treatment. Instead of being lured in there full of hope, only to find they would have been better off had they not bothered.

  • ernest.lwandle - 2013-01-07 19:29

    The last time we saw a docter here was on the 29 december, and the story goes,some of the kids haven`t seen a doctor since 25 December ,shocking sad, but its happenig and we have voted for it.

      marilyn.docherty.9 - 2013-01-08 07:36

      Put your cross elsewhere next time Ernest!!

  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2013-01-07 20:21

    we have one doctor working 8 doctors employed 38 funded positions for doctors Where oh where is the funding going to?

  • rubenarthur.titus.9 - 2013-01-07 20:22

    Mr Norman Mabasa, I sulute you for your outstanding contribution towards the nation. Basically, telling it like it is. Tomorrows leaders need to step up to the plate and take charge - yes doctors, I'm talking about you. Service delivery is beyound any expectation. So, put in the extra hours without pay...that is commitment, show and prove your qualification and character.

      Sonnyjakes - 2013-01-08 08:36

      And the "untouchables?" called nurses. They belong to unions and do just what they like. Black patients suffer the worst kind of abuse! Why don't you go do some volunteer work in a hospital instead of opening your big mouth!

  • obadia.segwape - 2013-01-07 21:24


  • rollingstone.kanyane - 2013-01-07 22:52

    i was litening to the mec on radio the man is confused the commission of enquiry is not going to help bring back the lost lives of the infants the good thing for him is to pave way for new leadership in that dept

  • kgabo.patrick.7 - 2013-01-08 07:03

    They don't care coz they have their own medical aid,shame on us may their soul RIP

  • christopher.caine.71 - 2013-01-08 07:04

    38 funded posts for doctors but only 8 doctors... so 8 people are meant to be doing 38 peoples work. I don't think you can really blame the doctors or nurses for those problems

  • nxumaloj - 2013-01-08 08:32

    Innocent babies die and nurses, doctors, politicians, etc blames the system and shortage of doctors with immediate call to probe..where are we heading to as the nation. Just wonder what would be the situation if these were not Black man babies...Black man you are in your own!

      marc.schnehage - 2013-01-08 08:52

      What? Have you finally realised that you are being let down by your own kind and not by the evil whites? 38 funded posts but only 8 doctors! Where does the other posts' money go to then? Change your anc government, idiot, instead of always blaming the whites!

      silas.mapuroma - 2013-01-08 12:20

      We voted the popular Party that is embarassing, The were Political refugees in Africa, and they learned all these, They are about to tender everything to loot this country, Lets vote them again and again, I wonder where Cosatu stands, because they also know the best"Essential services for Africans denied by them"

  • tebalob - 2013-01-08 10:49

    Werner this is so true,I would say ridiculously true had we not been talking about human lives.

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