178 000 children die in public hospitals in past decade

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
23 Apr 2023 in News

Of the 178 445 children aged 0 to 5 years that died in public hospitals over the past decade, 19 707 were due to pneumonia and diarrhoea, and 12 582 from moderate and severe acute malnutrition.

The Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, further revealed in answer to a written parliamentary question from the DA that 12 224 children’s deaths between 2013 to 2018 were due to unnatural causes.

Given that a study conducted in neonatal wards in South African district and regional hospitals found that 33% of patients were infected with pneumonia in hospital, it would be logical to assume that at least 3 000 of the 10 216 pneumonia-related deaths recorded were from hospital associated infections. And the horrendous state of many of the health facilities the DA conducts oversights at, certainly bears out the high risk of infection.

The ANC government’s fever dream of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill will not make a dent in addressing these issues. This is because the ANC sees the myriad of problems plaguing the public health sector as an issue of funding, when in fact the problem lies with management – management of funding, management of resources, management of staff, management of projects and processes, and management of consequences.

The truth is that the national and provincial Departments of Health have failed to adequately invest in, maintain, and manage the public health sector and instead of addressing the deeply rooted systemic issues by learning from successful private health facilities, government has decided to target them in their mad scheme.