Amajuba’s dilapidated district hospital gets a facelift to fight #Covid-19

Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu opening the Amajuba Health District's Niemeyer Hospital
KZN Simelane-Zulu Health MEC speaking at Niemeyer Hospital at eMadlangeni

A rural hospital in the Amajuba district of  KwaZulu-Natal has been upgraded in order to treat #Covid-19 patients more effectively.

The Niemeyer Hospital in Utrecht in the eMadlangeni municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal, services towns and villages in the Amajuba district.

Falling apart

From a dilapidated facility with crumbling infrastructure, and makeshift beds positioned on the corridors, the 80 year-old district hospital has undergone a major transformation in just six months. It now has 33 brand-new fully-equipped isolation beds, state of the art buildings and other infrastructure; and an improved staff complement – all ready to treat patients who have tested positive for Covid-19.

“Niemeyer was among the first hospitals that had to be repurposed, soon after confirmation of the country’s first Covid-19 case in March 2020,” Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu as she unveiled the refurbishing. “Its renovation, which started on 08 May 2020 and was completed on 01 October, was done in line with the Department’s approach that each of the province’s 11 districts had to have a designated Covid-19 hospital.”

“We know that  Covid-19 was bad for us when it started. But it also gave us an opportunity to improve our facilities. I’m very excited to be here today, because when I compare what I saw when I first came to the facility, there’s a huge difference.


Stats showing Covid-19 deaths in South Africa as of 10 December 2020
Covid-19 stats released by the Department of Health on 10th December 2020

“Today, we have a grade-A hospital that has proper isolation, and ICU beds. Even the patients are happy to come to this facility, and the clinicians here are quite happy to be working in an environment that looks like this,” said Simelane-Zulu.

She admitted that prior to the refurbish, the hospital was, in her words, “falling apart”.

KwaZulu-Natal’s growing Covid-19 cases as a cause for concern for medical experts in the province with more than 804 new cases reported on 9th December, while the total number of infections has topped 134 184 with 3 413 deaths.

Stats showing how many people have died of Covid-19

A warning to the community

By 9 December Amajuba District Municipality had registered 7006 confirmed Covid-19 cases, while 237 people have died and 6 742 others recovered. The most critical hot spot remains eThekwini which has recorded 63 481 cases, followed by Umgungundlovu District which registered 17 294 cases by the 9th December.

“The President recently spoke about tightening the bolts in one municipality,” said Simelane-Zulu.

“We are not an exception. Should it become clear that we are becoming a hot spot as the Province of KZN, the President will do the same thing to us as a province  where the numbers are increasing  so we are calling on our people to really ensure that they adhere to these regulations.”

Simelane-Zulu pleaded with people of the province  adhere to Covid-19 regulations. If not, they risk being hit with stricter regulations like those recently instituted at Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in the Eastern Cape. Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the two regions hotspots, imposing localised restrictions such as a curfew.

“We’ve started the festive season, and because we couldn’t hold the majority of activities and community programmes during the year, they’ve been shifted to the December holiday period,” Simelane-Zulu said. “But, unfortunately, if that is not managed properly, there’s a likelihood of them becoming super-spreader events.”

“As a result, we are calling on the community to ensure that they continue to adhere to the protocols such as wearing their face masks; washing their hands regularly, with soap and water and hand sanitiser; and maintain social distancing. We’re calling on our people to adhere to these regulations, because if they don’t, government will have to step in and be stricter,” she warned.—Health-e


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