Crime is becoming the major obstacle in attempts to accelerate repairs to and refurbishing of Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.
Speaking at a media briefing, health minister Joe Phaahla said while he was generally pleased with progress, the crime and destruction at the hospital was “an indictment on society”, reports TimesLIVE.
“Have we come to a point where hospitals must look like army barracks? That is not desirable, nor is it affordable. We need to maintain a balance between protecting staff and patients while still functioning properly,” he said.
Phaahla added after the fire that closed down the hospital in April last year, there had been much unhappiness and confusion on progress, and as a result, after a meeting last month with Premier David Makhura, it was decided the national department would step in and work directly with Gauteng – removing all responsibility from the Department of Infrastructure and Development and handing it over to national and Gauteng Health.
The Development Bank of Southern Africa was appointed as the implementing agent and other donor agencies also stepped up, with the Solidarity Fund and Gift of the Givers taking over parts of the upgrade work.
Ongoing work at the casualty and emergency department had been expedited, deep cleaning completed, and while some technical equipment and fittings were outstanding, this section of the hospital would be reopened in April, Phaahla said.
However, between “the time the patients were evacuated and when contractors were brought in to start working, installations like railings were all ripped out for scrap metal. The CAT scan machine has been vandalised. The central processing unit was ripped out and parts from inside were removed.
“This CAT scanner was linked to central radiology by copper cables and they were cut off and now need replacing. Our challenge is no longer just fire damage.”
The new completion date for the hospital is December 2023. Block two should be ready by July 2023, block 3 in October 2023, block 4 in November 2023 and block 5 in December of that year.
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