DA welcomes Health Ombud findings on inhumane conditions at Rahima Moosa hospital

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
15 Mar 2023 in News

The DA welcomes the Health Ombud, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s report on the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital (RMMCH). The DA brought the inhumane conditions to the Ombud’s attention in April last year when a member of her constituency reported her experience to DA MP Haseena Ismail.

Various management failures have caused patients to suffer unbearable conditions at the hospital. The Ombud confirmed reports of pregnant women being forced to sleep in chairs and on the hospital floor due to an inadequate divert policy and overcrowding, which increases the risk of disease outbreak to patients and staff and is especially risky in neonates.

The Ombud also found the hospital inadequately resourced and not fit for purpose with:

  • collapsing infrastructure;
  • staff shortages;
  • a high turnover of staff;
  • overcrowding;
  • breaching of Infection Prevention and Control protocols by using a solution not recommended to clean the skin before operations leading to wound infections in eleven patients;
  • irregularities in the appointment and leave approved for the CEO, Dr Nozuko Mkabayi; and
  • non-compliant procurement procedures.

The DA will request an SIU investigation regarding RMMCH’s procurement policies and practices, as well as its financial chaos.

In his report the Ombud noted that the “Gauteng Provincial Health Department (GDoH) is in a mess. This has been going on for some time – at least seven years.”

The Ombud also noted the crucial role played by whistle blowers like Dr Tim De Maayer in exposing the dire conditions at RMMCH and advocating for patient safety and provision of quality health service.

He made a number of recommendations, including:

  • supporting the transfer of Dr Mkabayi to GDoH;
  • the appointment of a suitable CEO within 3 months;
  • ensuring that RMMCH is refurbished within 6 months;
  • establishing policies, systems and procedures to ensure prudent financial and resource management and planning, including monitoring and evaluation;
  • fast-tracking the gazetting of RMMCH as a tertiary hospital within 8 months to ensure it receives a tertiary grant as the hospital provides specialist services to women and children and is used by Wits University for training purposes;
  • appointment of an independent forensic and audit firm within 2 months to conduct a competency, ‘fit for purpose’ assessment of the leadership and management staff at RMMCH and review corporate governance at the hospital;
  • investigating the HR practices regarding the appointment, supervision, leave management and irregularities, and resolutions of complaints of Dr Mkabayi as CEO; and
  • promoting a safe and healthy working environment through compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The DA will monitor the implementation of the Ombud’s recommendations. We will submit questions to the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, the Health Department and Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko regarding the progress of this.

We will also request the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the inhumane conditions.

The GDoH’s lax attitude when approached for intervention at RMMCH is a stark reminder of the difference between promise and implementation by the ANC government. The inhumane conditions of RMMCH would be magnified ten-fold should the ANC manage to bull-dose the unconstitutional National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill through Parliament.