KZN Health MEC calls for urgent probe over pregnant woman (23) and unborn child
June 07, 2019
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: KWAZULU-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane Zulu has promised stern action, should any person(s) be found guilty of negligence in connection with the “suspicious” demise of a 23 year-old mother and her unborn baby at the General Justice Gizenga Memorial Hospital (GJGMH, ex-Stanger Hospital) on Friday (31 May 2019).
During an unannounced visit to Isithebe Clinic at Mandeni yesterday, MEC Simelane-Zulu announced that an investigation will commence immediately, which will probe circumstances around how the expectant mother, Sithembile Shabane (picture attached), was managed from the time she arrived at the clinic on Friday morning.
The investigation will extend to allegations of staff negligence; the delayed arrival of the ambulance that eventually transported her to GJGMH; as well as how the would-be first-time mother was further managed at the hospital, where she eventually lost her life in the early hours of Saturday (01 June 2019). The incident had sparked anger in the community, with some residents threatening to march to the clinic and cause damage to it.
A concerned and distraught MEC Simelane-Zulu said that Government had worked hard to reduce the incidence of maternal and child mortality, and that such incidents were major cause for concern.
Reflecting on the incident, the MEC said: “We received a call on Saturday from a resident, as well as from the local councillor, complaining that a young person had died under suspicious circumstances. Unfortunately, this 23 year-old who passed away was pregnant, and lost her life along with her baby when she got to the hospital.
“The community was quite upset by this as there were allegations of negligence on the part of the staff, so we had to come here to see for ourselves, and engage with the staff and community and find out what actually happened. Fortunately, the family was represented, and the community was there, and we were able to have a discussion.
“We agreed that we are going to get a report in a month’s time, and we will have a report-back session at this clinic. However, there will be investigations by the Department, and we will follow up as soon as we’ve received that report.”
Vusi Hlekwayo, a representative of the Shabane family, thanked the MEC for her speedy intervention.
“We are glad that the MEC has come over to see the situation. But we are sad that we’ve just lost our loved one due to the ‘negligence’ that occurred at a government hospital. It gives us great pain that someone has passed away due to ‘inadequate’ care.
“We plead with the MEC for this matter not to be taken lightly, and followed through to a point where we are satisfied as a family.