Baby deaths at Tembisa hospital

Issued by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
20 Jan 2020 in Press Statements

I am horrified at the deaths of 10 babies at the Tembisa Hospital in November and December last year due to a suspected klebsiella outbreak which causes pneumonia and meningitis.

According to the Gauteng Health Department, there were 17 Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) cases which resulted in the deaths between 1 November and 31 December 2019.

This hospital is notoriously overcrowded, and the 44-bed neonatal unit often admits more than double that number of babies.

We need to know why the public were not informed earlier and what accountability there will be for these deaths.

Overcrowding and poor hygiene measures are a major problem in neonatal units in Gauteng hospitals. This led to the deaths of 6 babies from klebsiella at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in 2018, but there has been no proper accountability for these deaths.

How many more babies will die before effective measures are taken at all hospitals? It is no use waking up after the tragedy when babies have already died.

The Department needs to ensure that all neonatal units have enough staff and beds, with strict hygiene to prevent more klebsiella deaths.