Water crisis continues to affect Johannesburg hospitals

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Persistent water cuts are critically affecting a number of Johannesburg hospitals, with at least one patient's death linked to the crisis by the Human Rights Commission, writes MedicalBrief. Most acutely impacted have been Rahima Moosa Hospital and Helen Joseph Hospital.

TimesLive reports that SAHRC spokesperson Buang Jones said the man, a renal dialysis patient, had died because of a “combination of factors, which includes the water interruption” in the area. SAHRC was told that the hospital had to turn away some patients and also restrict operations due to the water issues. Non-essential operations and procedures also had to be postponed.

During a stakeholder engagement on water disruptions and the impact on healthcare services at the hospital, Helen Joseph CEO Relebohile Ncha highlighted the effect of water cuts on renal dialysis.

“For renal dialysis, we need consistent provision of high volumes of water that also has a purification system that occurs. If you look at an individual patient, that patient will need about 500ml per minute to go through that machine of the renal dialysis and that leads to about 30 litres per hour per patient.

Jones said that during the commission's visit to assess the impact of the water disruptions on healthcare services at the hospital, a number of challenges were raised. “The hospital could not sterilise its surgical equipment. This leads to delays in work in the theatre. They had to sterilise their equipment at other facilities, they also had to borrow instruments from other facilities. They could not use the boiler as the hospital did not have enough water,” he said.

He said the hospital CEO said she could not vouch for the cleanliness of the facility.

Jones said they were satisfied by the outcome of the engagement, where Joburg Water promised that the water supply would be fully restored within five days. He said the commission would monitor this commitment.

The Sowetan reports that Gift of the Givers have taken the initiative to help out with the water crisis faced by Rahima Moosa Hospital and Helen Joseph Hospital by drilling for water at the hospitals.

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman told Sowetan yesterday: "We need more water. We are hoping for sponsors to come forward." He said they have budgeted more than R550,000 for the borehole and their drilling team is currently on site at Rahima Moosa.

Rand Water and Joburg Water said they had technical teams working to resolve the problem.

 

Full TimesLIVE report (Open access)

 

Full TSowetan report (Open access)


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