TB hospitals closed in Gauteng

2010-10-07 14:15

Johannesburg - Three Gauteng tuberculosis hospitals have been closed to save money and channel resources to where they are needed most, the provincial health and social development department said on Thursday.

"Through this initiative, the department will save approximately R3m a year, which was the amount used to rent these hospitals. This amount excludes other operational costs such as equipment, food and staff salaries," said spokesperson Mandla Sidu.

Charles Hurwitz TB Hospital in Soweto, Tshepong TB Hospital in Tshwane, and East Rand TB Hospital in Ekurhuleni were closed last month and TB patients and staff were moved to existing district hospitals,

"The department took the decision to close these facilities as they were under utilised over the years with bed occupancy of between 40 to 45 percent, this is partly attributed to the success of the province's TB campaign."

Sidu said the province had an 80% TB cure rate.

The TB hospitals - previously known as Santa hospitals - were also in a poor physical state due to poor maintenance over the years.

This was a contributing factor to closing them, Sidu said.

He said the money saved would be used in the department's plans to strengthen primary health care, as that was where most TB patients were tested and treated.

"As TB is properly managed at that level, the need for patients to be hospitalised is minimal."