Health

Maternal deaths highlight poor state of hospitals

Ina Skosana

NGOs use maternal deaths to illustrate the dire state of Mpumalanga hospitals.

Selena Msiza's daughter died a week after a botched Caesarean at KwaMhlanga Hospital. (Clarissa Sosin)

The human rights organisation Section27 and HIV advocacy group the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) on World Aids Day used a story about maternal deaths to illustrate the dire state of Mpumalanga hospitals.

"We are concerned about the lack of quality in healthcare service provision, as highlighted by cases such as a woman who lost her life due to negligence at KwaMhlanga Hospital, as recently reported by the Mail & Guardian," the TAC and Section27 said in a letter to deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.

Mpumalanga TAC co-ordinator Thobile Maseko said the Bhekisisa story "was the evidence we needed to present to the deputy president to drive the point of the poor state of KwaMhlanga Hospital and high maternal mortality rates home".

The story detailed an account by Selena Msiza from Vlaklaagte 2 whose daughter, Lindiwe, had given birth there. Msiza said doctors "performed a Caesarean section, but had no idea she was expecting twins". 

"After taking out the first baby, they started to stitch her up. But my daughter said she told them that she could feel that there was another baby moving inside.

"They had to remove the stitches and open her tummy again. That's when they saw the second baby and took him out," Msiza said last year. Lindiwe died a week later.

A senior official in the Mpuma-langa health department, who asked not to be named, said that the story has led to the department investigating maternal health issues at the hospital, as well as the state of the hospital building and equipment, and staff training.

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