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02/10/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/10/2021 05:07

MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu on neonatal ward at GEN.Gizenga Justice Mpanza Hospital

KZN Health MEC pleased with brand new neonatal ward at GEN. izenga Justice Mpanza Hospital (Ex-Stanger Hospital)

Also: urges society to embrace family planning, says no child should still be born with HIV/aids in this day and age;

Calls upon mothers to visit ante-natal clinics early so that health threats can be picked up early and urgently attended to Kwazulu-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has urged expectant mothers to help the province fully eradicate the transmission of HIV/AIDS to children during birth by presenting themselves early to Primary Health Care clinics.

The MEC also says early visits by pregnant women to clinics and hospitals can reduce the rate of maternal and child mortality in the province.

Speaking during an #OperationSiyahlola(link is external) ('We are inspecting') visit at the General Justice Gizenga Mpanza Memorial Hospital (formerly Stanger Hospital) earlier today, MEC Simelane-Zulu urged pregnant women not to shy away from healthcare facilities, but come forward.

'This ensures that we are able to treat them properly, and if there are any complications, we are able to pick them up early and deal with them at that particular level.

'We have seen in other instances, mothers having to die unnecessarily, purely because of late presentation. But we've also seen in a few areas - and there really are not many of those - babies that are still being born with HIV and AIDS, which is something that should not be happening in this day and age because we now have proper treatment that prevents mother-to-child transmission.'

KwaZulu-Natal has managed to reduce the rate of Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV/AIDS from 20% in 2008, to 0.6% in 2021. During the second quarter of the 2020/21 financial year, the province had a maternal mortality rate of 112. 9 per 100 000, with an actual 65 fatalities; whereas in the third quarter, this moved to 113 per 100 000, with 59 actual deaths.

'So, we are calling on women to take these matters seriously… and come to our facilities early, so that they get the treatment that they need to prevent such occurrences,' says the MEC.

She was nevertheless extremely pleased with the progress that has been made at the GJGM Hospital's new maternity and neonatal complex, with features and services that are of a standard that is comparable to those found in the private sector.

The new complex was completed in 2019 and handed over for use in 2020. It has brought previously spatially fragmented maternal and child health services under one roof.

Among its key components are:

  • Nine stand-alone labour wards (one mother and her baby in each ward, as is the case in private hospitals);
  • A mothers' lodge with 15 beds;
  • An antenatal ward with 43 beds;
  • A post-natal ward with 63 beds; and
  • A total of 33 beds in its gynaecology ward.

It also has a brand-new helipad, a human milk bank; as well as a dedicated room for staff who need to express milk for breast-feeding.

MEC Simelane-Zulu also expressed gratitude to her counterpart, Public Works MEC Ms Peggy Nkonyeni, for intervening when completion of this complex was beset by delays.

'They started building this complex in 2013, but it has continuously had challenges… resulting in a stop and go kind of arrangement. We were able to speak to MEC Nkonyeni last year, and requested her assistance to ensure this facility gets completed.'

'We are thankful for her intervention, and are pleased with the progress that has been made. We now have about 177 beds, which has assisted us to open up space elsewhere, so that those wards that are in the main hospital are utilised for other things. Thanks to its completion, maternal and neonatal services are now being provided from within one complex.'

'But it's not just about the issue of beds… Actually, when you talk about this facility, it's also about the level of skilled professionals that are now there. The doctors who are able to assist our patients.'

'There is a lot of innovation that has been done here. One thing that got me excited is the fact that they have a milk bank, which is not just for patients, but also for staff who are expressing. That just indicates the caring Government that we are. When you look at the mothers' lodges… They're different from any other that we've had in the past. Now, this is clearly an indication that the KZN Department of Health… where we start building… we are investing in proper infrastructure, so that the dignity of our people is maintained at all times.'