Boksburg blast: Tambo Memorial Hospital now fully operational after R3.3m repairs

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Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg, Gauteng.
Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg, Gauteng.
PHOTO: Harry Munyoro/Facebook
  • Tambo hospital was damaged when a gas tanker exploded in late December. 
  • It has cost the Gauteng health department significantly less than was initially anticipated to fix parts of the hospital.
  • The hospital is now fully operational and all staff members deployed to other hospitals have been recalled.

The Gauteng Department of Health has spent R3.3 million to fix parts of Tambo Memorial Hospital, which was left damaged by a gas tanker which exploded outside the facility on Christmas Eve.

"I am particularly pleased that we got a report that indicates that the project was delivered within a cost of R3.3 million," Health and Wellness MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko said during a site visit on Monday.

Initial cost estimates showed at least R18 million would be required, said Human Settlements and Infrastructure Development MEC Lebogang Maile in December.

But last month, Nkomo-Ralehoko disputed this and said the costs would not exceed R10 million.

"I disagree that it would amount to R18 million.

"We mustn't thumb suck amounts of money as public representatives.

"We are going to pay far less to fix the hospital. I will be monitoring the funds," she said at the time.

READ | Boksburg blast: We stand by R18m hospital repair cost, says infrastructure dept amid corruption fears

Nkomo-Ralehoko confirmed the number of dead from the incident stood at 41.

"The health sector suffered a heavy blow with 12 employees succumbing to injuries and eight firefighters from the Ekurhuleni Emergency Services suffering severe injuries. Fortunately, all eight have since been discharged from the hospital. 

"A further 33 staff members from Tambo Memorial Hospital incurred injuries and were treated as outpatients. Most of them have since returned to work, except for three people."

The explosion's impact affected the accident and emergency department, radiology department, and other sections of the hospital, resulting in damages to the ceiling and some windows in the antenatal care department, operating theatre and various other areas of the hospital. 

As a result, the hospital was placed on ambulance diversion from 24 December 2022 to 27 January 2023 at 20:00.

Nkomo-Ralehoko said:

Patients coming in with private vehicles and walk-ins were either admitted or stabilised and transferred to neighbouring facilities based on the assessment of doctors.

The hospital can now receive critical patients in the accident and emergency unit for general surgery, radiology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, paediatric, high and low-risk maternity and the ear, nose and throat departments.

Trauma cases that require theatre operations and the intensive care unit are fully operational. 

READ | Boksburg blast: Neonatal nurse volunteered to work overtime on day of her death

"All services have now been restored. The hospital will embark on a catch-up process to reschedule patients who would have missed their scheduled appointments for surgery and radiology services."

All staff members who were allocated to neighbouring facilities have also been recalled.

"The Gauteng Department of Social Development has been liaising with affected people and continues to offer trauma therapy to families and assisting with food parcels to those that need such assistance. Social workers have been allocated to the families to offer further support," said Nkomo-Ralehoko. 

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