/ 12 September 2007

Baragwanath hospital water supply restored

The recent water shortage at Gauteng’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is over after repairs were made to a burst water pipe. Some sections, including the entire theatre block, at the large Soweto hospital had been without water since last week Wednesday.

The hospital’s CEO, Dr Arthur Manning, confirmed on Wednesday that four theatres were ready to be reopened for use. ”We have 420 rooms in the hospital, but the most critical, the theatres, were affected by the burst water pipe,” he said.

Manning said that though the theatres were ready for use, there was a need to check on gas lines, electricity and infection control before their doors were opened.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital spokesperson Hester van den Heever told the Mail & Guardian Online on Wednesday that the remaining 12 theaters were anticipated to be up and running by the end of the day.

”All other departments are fully functional and now we are waiting for a report on the progress of the other theatres from the CEO,” she said.

Manning said that patients were being transported to Johannesburg and Helen Joseph hospitals to ensure that Chris Hani Baragwanath did not build up a backlog while the problem was being attended to.

Van den Heever said that the hospital had enough theatres to use for the time being. ”We have other theatres on the hospital premises, they are all functional and they are outside the theatre block,” she said.


Meanwhile, the Gauteng department of health announced on Wednesday that Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is undergoing a R400-million face-lift. Units currently under construction at the hospital are accidents, emergency and trauma; radiology; and pharmacy.

Gavin Cooper, of Asch-Gosiame construction project management, which oversees the construction, said the company has used 40% (R160-million) of the money allocated to revamp the hospital. Due to service delays, the project will be finished in May next year.

”We are facing a three-month backlog. But at present we are busy with the revamp project to assist us to catch up with the underground work that has been delayed,” said Cooper.

The construction is part of the hospital revitalisation programme aimed at improving facilities, infrastructure, organisational development and equipment.

Provincial minister of health Brian Hlongwa said: ”This project is to ensure that this hospital restores the dignity and integrity of the people of Soweto. It would be a centre of excellence for the best services to cater for a variety of needs.”