/ 11 September 2007

Parts of Bara without water for a week

Sections of Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg have been without water for nearly a week, the Star reported on Tuesday.

This has resulted in theatres being closed, several toilets out of order and, according to one specialist surgeon, the hygiene of patients being compromised.

Hospital spokesperson Hester van den Heever confirmed that sections of the hospital had been without water since at least Thursday because of a burst water pipe outside the hospital.

“I think that about three wards have been affected, part of the theatre and some kitchens.”

The surgeon, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Usually I wash my hands in between dealing with patients, but now no-one has been able to wash their hands and patients are not being washed.”

Dr Anna Speraco, a surgeon at Bara, said: “There is no water at all here and it is a problem. I think that the size of this problem was underestimated initially and that resulted in an even bigger problem.”

Dr Arthur Manning, the chief executive officer of the hospital said the water shortage had not posed a danger to any patient’s life.

Johannesburg Water spokesperson Baldwin Matsimela said the problem had nothing to do with the utility, but with the hospital.

“Last week we were informed by them that it was a pipe burst on the hospital grounds and that they would call their plumbers. We have been providing a water tanker, which we fill every morning,” he said.

Justine Arnolds, who works in the X-ray department, said only one tap was working in the entire department.

“It’s not enough because it comes and goes,” said Arnolds, adding that the toilets for patients had to be flushed with buckets of water.

According to Wikipedia the hospital is the largest in the world.

The website said more than two thousand patients check in to the hospital daily and nearly half of them are HIV positive.