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01 June 2016

Patients turned away as hospital runs dry

For months, areas surrounding Ermelo, Mpumalanga including KaBokweni township have been without a steady supply of water.

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Periodic water shortages have not spared the local Themba Hospital and one family says they were recently turned away from the hospital during one such shortage.

Bloody and battered

Thokozile Masinga is living with type 2 diabetes but she recently faced complications. Her family says she was given simple pain medication and turned away during a shortage. Concerned about her welfare, Masinga’s family decided to move her to Kamagugu outside Nelspruit so she could access care at the Rob Ferreira Hospital.

Read: Fixing the South African public health sector

Thulani Masango alleges that he was discharged from the hospital bloody and battered following a recent hit and run accident during a water shortage.

"I had a few opened wounds,” said Masango, who added that nurses stitched his wounds closed before discharging him. “I was given pain killers and I was discharged 10 hours after with pain.”

“When I asked to shower I was told that there was no water,” he told OurHealth.

Water tankers available

Mpumalanga Department of Health Spokesperson Dumisani Malamule has denied the allegations. “Allegations that clients were turned away at the gate by the hospital staff due to a shortage of water are not true and (are) misleading,” he said.

Read: Just hope you never have to go to KwaMhlanga Hospital

“There are no patients who have been turned away because of the water challenges.”

"Naturally, if there is no water in the township the hospital is also affected,” said Malamule, who added that the department has supplied JoJo water tanks to the hospital and that water tankers are available in case of shortages.

As a long-term solution, Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport officials will be investigating whether it is possible to drill boreholes on the hospital’s property. – Health-e News

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