Water security measures are urgently needed for Gauteng public hospitals as patients suffer from persistent water failures by Johannesburg Water and Rand Water.
The Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa hospitals have been worst hit by water cuts, but Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Leratong Hospital have also been affected by the breakdown of water supply.
It is completely unacceptable that operations are cancelled, wards are smelly, and toilets are filthy because of the water shortage.
A nurse has described the state of a casualty ward “as if they slaughtered a cow in there.”
A doctor at Leratong Hospital said a patient died because they could not sterilise the instruments to save him.
Instead of dialysis for four hours, kidney patients at the Helen Joseph Hospital are only getting three hours or less.
The outpouring of assistance by private individuals and organisations in providing water to the hospitals is heartwarming.
This includes the initiative by Gift of the Givers to build a borehole at the Rahima Moosa Hospital.
Residents of Montana and Sinoville in Tshwane are also assisting after an appeal by DA Tshwane Clr Arnold van Niekerk, whose daughter is an intern at this hospital. He will be delivering 100 5-litre bottles of water to the hospital tomorrow.
But the prime responsibility for water security at hospitals lies with the Gauteng Health Department which has been slow to react to this crisis.
Water security at Gauteng hospitals has been neglected for too long. It needs to have priority along with fire security and power backup measures as state infrastructure continues to fail because of poor maintenance.
We can get this right with private/public partnerships that can provide speedy and innovative solutions to this water crisis.
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