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Port Shepstone Hospital resorts to emergency measures amid water crisis

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been reliably informed that Port Shepstone Hospital has been given the go-head to transfer patients to Durban, postpone clinic appointments and discharge patients who can manage at home.

This as the facility faces a crisis following this week’s Ugu Municipality water shut down for maintenance purposes.

While the DA welcomes any form of repair aimed at improving the supply of water to Ugu’s half a million residents, the reality that this is a facility which houses people who are ill and this cannot be compromised under any circumstances.

Then there is the fact that our country and our province are in the midst of a Coronavirus pandemic and that constant water supply – particularly when it comes to healthcare facilities – is a must.

According to our professional source within the hospital, the facility operated with reservoir water from Tuesday evening. On Wednesday night tankers did four deliveries but by yesterday morning the hospital’s reserve tank was at zero. While another tanker delivered water at 8am yesterday, this apparently didn’t help much. Another four water tankers also delivered water yesterday afternoon but this will not be enough for the hospital to function normally.

While water supply to most clinical areas has automatically shut down – with no end in sight - hospital management also claim they are being sent from pillar to post. Despite contacting Ugu municipality officials about the problem, they have had little assistance. Their call to the tanker drivers directly established that they were trying to locate another water source as the initial source was exhausted.

Port Shepstone Hospital, along with all health facilities in the Ugu District, have faced a long struggle with water and maintaining quality health services. This had led to adverse events, delayed operations, patient transfers and poor quality care.

The DA has succeeded in hauling the Ugu District Municipality management in front of the national parliamentary CoGTA portfolio committee later today to explain their poor performance, financial crisis and failure to provide water. They will be also be forced to explain their lack of contingency plans for vital health facilities during their maintenance drives. This is not their first time that they are doing maintenance.

For this immediate crisis, the DA calls for the direct intervention of KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu. She must now ensure the smooth transfer of critical patients and the supply of additional water resources to Port Shepstone Hospital and other critical health facilities.

We also reiterate our ongoing call to Premier Sihle Zikalala to intervene by placing the Ugu District Municipality under provincial administration and to bring an end to the ongoing ANC factional fights that led to the initial infrastructure damage that now needs fixing.

Chanté Meyer