Department of Health looks to clean up ‘dirty’ hospital

With no working toilets at the library, librarians and patrons are forced to knock on the doors of neighbours in order to go to the toilet. Some have also started relieving themselves outside the building (File photo)
Written by Thabo Molelekwa

After patient reports of dirty loos and cupboards full of cockroaches, the Gauteng Department of Health has said maintenance and cleaning units at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital are redoubling efforts to ensure the hospital is clean.

Patients provided this photo of a Charlotte Maxeke Hospital loo to Jack Bloom.

Patients provided this photo of a Charlotte Maxeke Hospital loo to Jack Bloom.

Following patient complaints, the Gauteng Department of Health has said Charlotte Maxeke Hospital maintenance and cleaning teams are redoubling efforts to improve conditions.

“Management is aware of the public toilets that are broken,” said Gauteng Department of Health Spokesperson Steve Mabona, who added that some toilets were scheduled to be replaced last week. Cleaning units will also be checking bathrooms every two hours and the hospital has appointed a new pest controller, he told OurHealth.

Former Charlotte Maxeke Hospital nurse Colleen King said she was recently horrified by conditions at the hospital after her husband was admitted. According to King, she found many of the hospital’s toilets were dirty – especially those in the hospital’s out patient department. Some did not have working lights and many did not have toilet paper, which led King to question whether they had been recently cleaned.

Conditions in her husband’s ward were not much better, said King, whose complaints to Democratic Alliance Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom late last week sparked several patients to come forward with their stories.[quote float= right]I opened the shelf on my husband’s bed and there were hundreds of cockroaches in there”

“I opened the shelf on my husband’s bed and there were hundreds of cockroaches in there,” she added. “I was so shocked.”

Ellen Levy of Victory Park in Johannesburg added that she complained about cockroaches at the hospital to staff earlier this year. She alleged that staff met her concerns with bad attitudes.

“High standards of cleanliness are non-negotiable in a hospital where infection risk needs to be minimised,” she told OurHealth.

In a subsequent statement, Bloom noted falling standards at the more than 1000-bed hospital.

“Conditions at this leading hospital are declining, as shown by the latest National Health Department survey where it scored only 68 percent on six core standards, including cleanliness – down from 70 percent previously,” Bloom said.

Take a tour of Charlotte Maxeke Hospital’s loos

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Photos courtesy of Jack Bloom

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About the author

Thabo Molelekwa

Thabo Molelekwa joined OurHealth citizen journalists project in 2013 and went on to become an intern reporter in 2015. Before joining Health-e News, Thabo was a member of the Treatment Action Campaign’s Vosloorus branch. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in Computer Systems and started his career at Discovery Health as a claims assessor. In 2016 he was named an International HIV Prevention Reporting Fellow with the International Centre for Journalists and was a finalist in the Discovery Health Journalism Awards competition in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Thabo also completed a feature writing course at the University of Cape Town in 2016. In 2017 he became a News reporter , he is currently managing the Citizen Journalism programme.You can follow him on @molelekwa98