Health Management OurHealth Water & Sanitation

Patients allegedly turned away as hospital runs dry

Written by Cynthia Maseko

Patients have accused Mpumalanga’s Themba Hospital of turning them away after taps recently ran dry at the hospital.

Mpumalanga Department of Health officials deny that patients were turned away during recent water shortages (File photo)

Mpumalanga Department of Health officials deny that patients were turned away during recent water shortages (File photo)

For months, areas surrounding Ermelo, Mpumalanga including KaBokweni township have been without a steady supply of water. Periodic water shortages have not spared the local Themba Hospital and one family says they were recently turned away from the hospital during one such shortage.

Thokozile Masinga is living with type 2 diabetes but she recently faced complications, her family says she was given simple pain medication and turned away during a shortage. Concerned about her welfare, Masinga’s family decided to move her to Kamagugu outside Nelspruit so she could access care at the Rob Ferreira Hospital.

Thulani Masango alleges that he was discharged from the hospital bloody and battered following a recent hit and run accident during a water shortage.

“I had a few opened wounds,” said Masango, who added that nurses stitched his wounds closed before discharging him. “I was given pain killers and I was discharged 10 hours after with pain.”

“When I asked to shower I was told that there was no water,” he told OurHealth.

Mpumalanga Department of Health Spokesperson Dumisani Malamule has denied the allegations.

“Allegations that clients were turned away at the gate by the hospital staff due to a shortage of water are not true and (are) misleading,” he said. “There are no patients who have been turned away because of the water challenges.”

“Naturally, if there is no water in the township the hospital is also affected,” said Malamule, who added that the department has supplied JoJo water tanks to the hospital and that water tankers are available in case of shortages.

As a long-term solution, Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport officials will be investigating whether it is possible to drill boreholes on the hospital’s property. – Health-e News

About the author

Cynthia Maseko

Cynthia Maseko joined OurHealth in 2013 as a citizen journalist working in Mpumalanga. She is passionate about women’s health issues and joined Treatment Action Campaign branch as a volunteer after completing her matric. As an activist she has been involved with Equal Treatment, Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and also with Marie Stopes Clinic’s project Blue Star dealing with the promotion of safe abortions and HIV education.