Hospital hit by ongoing water shortage

Hospital hit by ongoing water shortageDespite two boreholes drilled almost two years ago to help ease the water shortages in Makwarela, Limpopo, the residents have never seen water coming out of their taps. (File Photo)

Tshwaragano District Hospital in the Northern Cape has been hit by water shortages more than a month now.

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Relatives of patients at Tshwaragano District Hospital in the Northern Cape are used to bringing water during visits. Credit: SuSanA Secretariat.

According to patients, this is a crisis because they cannot use bathtubs or showers. They have to wash themselves using only a small basin once a day.

This hospital, which is about 20km from Kuruman in a small village, serves around 120 000 people.

A few years ago some parts of the hospital were renovated, and the hospital CEO Tshediso Sejake announced at a district health forum meeting that more renovations would be done.

Patients turned away

Patricia Makati, a patient, said she had been battling with bad toothache but had been turned away several times because there was no water at the hospital.

Some patients said they would have to bring their own 5-litre container of water to the dental department when they needed a tooth extraction.

Some patients said they would have to bring their own 5-litre container of water to the dental department when they needed a tooth extraction.

Hospitalised patients rely on water from a tank which is expected to supply all the needs of the hospital, including cooking and laundry.

A professional nurse responsible for the main ward said she was not authorised to make a formal media statement regarding the water situation at the hospital, but did say that their work was made more difficult when there was no water.

“We are supposed to change the linen every day, but due to this crisis we cannot,” she said.

Families bring water for patients

Families of hospitalised patients said they were used to bringing water when coming to visit.

Despite the water crisis, the hospital continues to render services to patients. Nurses said they were grateful to those with water who were sharing what little was available in the spirit of Ubuntu.

Local community residents say the problem is not new and has been reported by the National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu). Yet still, the situation continues.

The Northern Cape Department of Health said they plan to provide a 1000 litre JoJo tank as a temporary solution until the water crisis at the hospital can be permanently resolved.

Town Mayor Neo George Masegela told Our Health that he will follow up on the matter and give proper feedback on everything that is being done.