Tuesday, 9 August, 2022
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Unsafe, ageing Limpopo hospital sends laundry 30km away for washing

While the national Health Department has promised a new hospital will be built by 2028, locals have to contend with dilapidated wards, collapsing roofs, cracked walls and cramped spaces at Siloam Hospital outside Thohoyandou, Limpopo, writes Bernard Chiguvare for GroundUp. The hospital serves about 20 villages in the Vhembe district.

When GroundUp visited Siloam we found a truck filled with dirty hospital linen. A hospital worker told us that the laundry was going to Tshilidzini Hospital to be washed, more than 30km away.

“Since February this year the washing machines have not been working. Now the laundry goes to Tshilidzini,” he said.

Former President Jacob Zuma launched a project with the national health department to build a new Siloam Hospital in 2014. Construction supposedly began in June 2022 and the hospital should be completed by July 2028 at a cost of R1.5bn, according to the department.

But when we visited the site of the new hospital, there was no sign or activity indicating construction.

The hospital is one of the oldest in the province. Members of the Vhembe Concerned Group – a community structure in the Nzhelele area – say the weathered and thinly-resourced hospital is not safe for staff or patients.

Samuel Nusunzo, chairperson of the community structure, said they protested with other community members outside the hospital last year, demanding to know why construction of the new building had not yet started.

Elderly people stand at the outpatients department while they wait to be helped because there is no seating available, and staff said that the wards were in desperate need of revamping. A nurse said: “Some of the buildings are a danger to staff and patients. The hospital is too small for the number of patients. Though the department is slowly renovating some of the structures, they should speed up to avoid a catastrophe.”

Foster Mohale, spokesperson for the National Department of Health, said Siloam was built decades ago and is no longer sufficient to cater for the local population. He did not comment on the laundry or the other problem areas at the hospital.

 

GroundUp article – Dilapidated Limpopo hospital has to send its laundry 30km away to be washed (Republished under Creative Commons Licence)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

A 6-hour, 500km, daily trip to wash Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital’s linen

 

Limpopo hospital fire leaves 2 patients dead

 

Hundreds of cancelled Gauteng surgeries because of laundry shortages

 

PE hospitals’ linen shortage: patients resort to curtains and newspapers

 

Spotlight investigation: Gqeberha patients must endure soiled linen

 

 

 

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