Eastern Cape revamp of hospital in Mthatha progressing well, says premier

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Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.
Masi Losi/ The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images
  • A renovation of Sir Henry Elliot Hospital in Mthatha is almost complete, while 25 hospitals have been identified for bulk tank oxygen supply. 
  • Elsewhere, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane revealed that 70 people died in the past 24 hours from Covid-19, against a steady increase in recoveries.
  • The recovery rate was sitting at above 90%.

*CORRECTION: This story has been amended to reflect that the construction of the mortuary is not a new construction, but an already existing renovation project at Sir Henry Elliot hospital that is almost complete.

The Eastern Cape's renovation of buildings and units at Sir Henry Elliot Hospital in Mthatha is progressing well, says Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

The province further identified 25 hospitals for bulk tank oxygen supply, with Mabuyane saying oxygen remained a critical resource in saving the lives of Covid-19 patients.

Mabuyane was speaking ahead of his tour of some of 86 hospitals currently undergoing refurbishment to the tune of R594.7m in the Eastern Cape.

Upon completion, the projects, across all six district municipalities and two metros, would guarantee the province 2 458 Covid-19 beds, he said.

Mabuyane said while the province was seeing a steady increase in the recovery rate which was above 90% across all districts, the fatality rate was a concern.

He said in the past 24 hours, 70 people died due to Covid-19 in the province.

"These fatalities are due to co-morbidities, with diabetes and hypertension the leading causes of death among patients who tested positive for Covid-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased during this difficult time. May they find strength to heal from their losses."

Thirty-six percent of the fatalities occurred in seven hospitals - Frere Hospital, Life Beacon Bay and Life St Dominics in East London, Mthatha General, Dora Nginza, Livingstone Hospital and Netcare Greenacres in Port Elizabeth.

The premier revealed that, of the 86 projects under construction, 79 projects costing a total of R408.1 million were selected and managed by the Department of Public Works' in-house professionals.

"This has saved government a massive amount of R94 million on consultant fees. We are going to continue to capacitate the Department of Public Works with in-house expertise to be a fit for purpose vehicle to deliver and maintain public infrastructure in our province," said Mabuyane.   

At Sir Henry Elliot hospital, the province invested R5.8 million for the rehabilitation of an unused building to house 96 beds with 15 high-care beds. He said R6.8 million was invested for plumbing, drainage and access roads, including ramps linked to the 96 bed repair works.

"We availed an additional R2.7 million for the construction of a mortuary for Covid-19 cases. All the work I am referring to is progressing very well at this facility and across the district."

"The installation of bulk oxygen tanks here at Sir Henry Elliot Hospital has been completed. It is also important to report that medicine availability for Covid-19 in our province is at 84.7 %, while overall PPE availability is at 78.8 %. We are in good standing," said Mabuyane.

Speaking at the OR Tambo District, in Mthatha, Mabuyane said:

"For far too long the rural masses of our people, in particular, have been receiving healthcare services in facilities that were not conducive for the provision of quality healthcare. Even worse, our healthcare workers had to endure working in shabby healthcare facilities. I have seen some of these health facilities with my own eyes. It still boggles my mind how they maintained their status as healthcare facilities with their horribly state of infrastructure decay.

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