Security has been upgraded at Addington Hospital after two unknown men posing as Home Affairs officials gained access to the maternity section last month, reports Health-e News. The men, who had official Home Affairs name tags, told the sister-in-charge that they had arrived to collect mothers with new-borns in order to do birth certificate registrations. They said this was part of a new campaign to register all new-born babies within 30 days of birth.
Fortunately, sister-in-charge on duty at the time refused to release mothers and their babies and requested the letter of motivation, confirming what the men were claiming. They were unable to produce this and left shortly afterwards, causing the nurse to raise the alarm.
“We have never received prior notification or anything in writing informing us that there would be people from the Department of Home Affairs sent to the hospital to do a birth certificate for new-born babies. And so we refused to proceed with them because our staff are trained not to go through with any changes or developments in standard routine if they have not been given prior and clear notice. Thankfully the staff involved all stuck to protocol,” said one a nursing sister who did not want to be named.
The report says KZN Health spokesperson Agiza Hlongwane confirmed the reported incident and said all relevant authorities had been informed of what may have been an attempted abduction. He said the hospital had also since upgraded its security.
KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo described the incident as a shocking and extremely concerning. “This has all the makings of attempted human trafficking. It is reprehensive that people would go to such lengths as to produce departmental name tags and try to commit something so heinous. The pain and suffering that could have resulted from this are unimaginable,” Dhlomo said.
“We are urging all security personnel, nursing staff and mothers themselves at all our healthcare facilities to be extra vigilant.”
And Limpopo Health is tightening security at its facilities after attacks at its hospitals and clinics have threatened the safety of nurses, doctors and patients. Health-e News reports that the department is concerned about the continued attacks that have resulted in most clinics no longer operating for 24 hours.
Recently, in just one week, four hospitals in the province – George Masebe, Zebediela, Matlala and Helen Franz – were attacked by criminals who targeted doctors and nurses at staff residences.
The report says Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba has appealed to the communities to work with law enforcement agencies, local police forum and security companies to put an end to the crimes. She said the attacks hinder the recruitment of doctors and other health professionals to work in the province, particularly in rural hospitals.
Many facilities continue to operate with a shortage of doctors, resulting in long queues and the department is still struggling with the supply of medicines to most hospitals and clinics in the province. The department’s spokesperson Neil Shikwambani said they had going to put a plan in place to curb the spread of criminal attacks.
“We cannot reveal our plans to the media for security reason but we can promise our people that our hospitals and clinics will be safer. The safety of our nurses, doctors and patients is important,” said Shikwambani.
The report says Shikwambani echoed the MEC’s appeal for community members to work together with the police and the department. “We need to work together to ensure our facilities are safe because if doctors and nurses stop going to our hospitals and clinics we are the ones who will suffer,” he said.