“When I arrived to the hospital the day my wife gave birth, I met nurses carrying my child [wearing an] oxygen mask,” the baby’s father* says. “My wife told [me] that they said he has a stiff neck. He spent that day on an oxygen mask and the following day they discharged [him] and she was told that it was due to [a] bed shortage at the hospital. ” 

The father says when they got home his son didn’t want to be breastfed and was inactive. “That was an odd thing but we thought things would improve and on the second day we decided to take him to the clinic and that’s when they called an ambulance and diagnosed him [with] meningitis,” he says. 

The disgruntled parent calls on the department to act on the matter. 

“How can they discharge him knowing very well that he is sick? If they could have transferred [him] to another hospital that had enough beds, that was going to be better. You cannot discharge a sick person because of shortage of beds. [The] department of health must do something, people must be held accountable because that is careless,” the father says. 

Provincial health spokesperson, Neil Shikwambana says they are still waiting for the report.   

The department of health has, however, launched a Maternal Health Standards to combat maternal and perinatal deaths. “The department has already put issues of maternal perinatal deaths high on its agenda. It is against this background that in October 2019, the department launched a Maternal Health Standards through which reviews are done on a monthly basis,” the statement reads.

According to the Mayo Clinic website meningitis is an “inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord. Symptoms in new-borns may include: high fever, constant crying, excessive sleepiness or irritability, inactivity or sluggishness, poor feeding, a bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby’s head and stiffness in a baby’s body and neck.” – Health-e News 

*The parents wished to remain anonymous