Neonatal deaths down at Chris Hani hospital

The Gauteng Department of Health is pleased with progress being made in reducing neonatal deaths at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

For the period January to October this year, the hospital recorded 287 deaths which is slightly less compared to deaths in the past three years: 2013 – 448, 2014 – 446 and 2015 – 466.

This reduction in the neonatal deaths can be attributed to various interventions that have been implemented at the hospital such as the addition of a second 24-hour theatre.

This was augmented by an increase in the number of midwives from 50 to 86 and the increase in the number of beds at the kangaroo care.

The hospital further introduced a lactation programme, while making breast pumps freely available for mothers to afford children milk, which assists in improving immunity of newborns.

A dedicated team to supervise and monitor hand washing by mothers and employees was also appointed as part of infection control.

This has been supplemented by continuous staff training – neonatal resuscitation course for doctors and nurses – and filling of vacant positions as and when they become available.

A permanent clinical engineer was also appointed to ensure there is minimal equipment breakdown and quick turnaround times in case of machine breakdowns.

It should be noted that the causes of deaths vary case by case but they emanate from three main conditions such as congenital abnormalities, prematurity infection and asphyxia. The hospital serves a large community and as such it performs around 20 000 baby deliveries yearly.

Contracts above R500 000 ensured

To ensure that all contracts above R500 000 go through a competitive process as required by National Treasury, the department has established a Demand Management Unit. The Unit ensures that all health institutions compile Demand Management Plans and Annual Procurement Plans linked to their available budget, to ensure that procurement that is above R500 000 follow the competitive bidding process.

In the current financial year (2016/2017), the department has subjected seven projects to the Open Tender Process. These projects are estimated at total value of R1.6 billion.

In the 2014/15 financial year, the department awarded five contracts above the value of R500 000 which did not go through a competitive bidding process.

In the 2015/16 financial year, the department awarded three contracts above the value of R500 000 which did not go through a competitive bidding process.

Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital

The department is also satisfied with average waiting times and queues at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, which were brought about by various measures introduced.

These include the introduction of lean method and employment of more personnel at the hospital’s pharmacy.

This was supplemented with staff training on relevant topics that improves efficiency. About 30 staff members have been trained on lean method at the Outpatient Department in order to reduce waiting times using evidence based processes.

Cuban doctors

“We are content with the work that is being done by Cuban doctors. It should be noted that all Cuban doctors currently deployed to Gauteng are qualified family physicians. And each doctor’s competency was assessed by representative professors on behalf of the Health Professionals Council of South Africa and they were all accredited as competent to perform in the country,” the department said in a statement.

These doctors were enrolled into an English language and medical English course. Other Health Professionals in South Africa including Nurses and Doctors are also offered English including medical English as part of their basic training.

Sign language

Furthermore, the department is also currently offering sign language to other health workers (26) to assist them to communicate more effectively and provide appropriate care to people with disabilities.

Source: South African Government News Agency.