- In an exclusive interview with Briefly News, the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom criticised the pace of the reopening of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital
- The hospital has seen parts of it reopen following the fire that gutted it, with several other parts only anticipated to reopen in 2023
- Bloom said the length of time that the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital is not fully operational will have an impact on Gauteng amid the Covid-19 pandemic
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The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom is critical of the slow pace at which the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) in Johannesburg is reopening.
Bloom made the remarks during a recent exclusive Briefly News interview. The hospital has seen parts of it reopening following the fire that gutted it in April but the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development confirmed that several other parts are only expected to reopen in 2023.
Bloom, who keeps a close eye on all matters surrounding public hospitals in Gauteng, said this is not a reasonable turnaround.
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He said he is not satisfied that the process of getting the health facility fully operational – which needs to attend to the primary care requirements of 2 000 patients a day – is being taken seriously.
Less patients being seen since part closure
"I am very disappointed at the slow pace with which the hospital is reopening," Bloom told Briefly News.
"It is horrifying that the Department of Infrastructure Development thinks it will take two years to get the structurally safe parts of the hospital open for patients. I am sure that private sector expertise would be far quicker."
According to Bloom, an oral reply to his questions at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature on Tuesday, 10 August, by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi suggests that the partially reopened hospital now sees only 381 outpatients a day on average.
Bloom said this is compared to 2 344 outpatients before the fire – a reduction of 84 per cent. He added that there is not enough accountability taking place at the hospital, which if, otherwise present, could have averted the CMJAH's current plight.
Covid19 cases to be adversely affected due to capacity
As a result, the length of time that the hospital is not fully operational will continue to have an impact on Gauteng and the wider Johannesburg community amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Gauteng’s public health system has suffered a major blow with the slow reopening of this hospital," explained Bloom.
"Lives are being lost in the Covid-19 pandemic because ICU beds are not available, and other patients are suffering because of long waiting lists for specialist heart surgery.
"There needs to be accountability for the failure to detect deficiencies in fire safety at the hospital that could have prevented or limited the devastating fire. This should include disciplinary action against the hospital CEO Gladys Bogoshi."
Briefly News previously reported that the then-Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane blamed the hospital's missing building plans on apartheid. Bloom, however, said he disagrees with this viewpoint.
"It is ridiculous for Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane to blame apartheid for the lack of building plans. This issue should have been picked up and rectified with regular fire audits," added Bloom.
Expert says Covid19 herd immunity may not be reached
In a recent news report, Briefly News reported that while on a tour of various vaccination sites around the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that South Africa is well on its way to reaching herd immunity against the coronavirus.
According to The Citizen, over seven million South Africans have been vaccinated against Covid-19 so far and the government anticipates vaccinating more people as the country receives more vaccines and even more volunteers to administer jabs.
“With seven million people who have now been vaccinated, we should soon be heading for a population immunity," said Ramaphosa.
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