Parliament, Thursday, 09 April 2020 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said the issue at St Augustine’s hospital in Kwazulu-Natal could be defined as implausible.
Media reports state that out of the 66 people who tested positive for Covid-19 at the hospital, 47 of those positive have been staff members and five people have died at St Augustine’s hospital.
Dr Dhlomo said he commends the decision taken by the MEC of Health in KwaZulu-Natal to close the hospital completely, as it will drastically curtail the spread of the virus in the hospital.
Dr Dhlomo said: “It is unbelievable that we could have so many Covid-19-related infections and deaths at one hospital. Half of the deaths relating to the pandemic in KwaZulu-Natal are from St Augustine’s hospital.”
The appointment of Prof Salim Karim and a team of epidemiology and infectious diseases specialists from the University of KwaZulu-Natal to fully investigate the cause of the outbreak is a welcome move, added Dr Dhlomo. However, he is of the view that the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, must investigate what is taking place in the hospital and provide a report thereafter.
It is encouraging to know that the Minister of Health has been given more powers in terms of the recommendations of the Health Market Inquiry Report, which was released by the Competition Commission. The report’s recommendations released last year in October allow the Minister to get into the issues of private hospitals and have a thorough investigation.
“We would like the Minister to leave no stone unturned in actually getting into St Augustine’s hospital,” added Dr Dhlomo.
“We would like to thank President Cyril Ramaphosa for announcing and declaring a national state disaster, thereby enabling a locking down for the entire country. What we are witnessing at St Augustine’s is something we would not have discovered if there was no country-wide vigilance to fight coronavirus,” said Dr Dhlomo.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, DR SIBONGISENI DHLOMO.
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