Pregnant women bullied and abused

“The South African healthcare system has failed women during the critical time of childbirth, and the government has admitted this,” HRW researcher Agnes Odhiambo told reporters in Johannesburg.

“But all South Africa’s good intentions, policies and strategies on paper won’t save women’s lives without strong accountability systems to make sure policies are carried out,” she said, releasing a HRW study report.

The study documents maternity care failures, including the abuse of maternity patients by health workers and substandard care in the Eastern Cape.

Odhiambo said that the study also gave an indication about maternal mortality across the country.

She said she had interviewed women who had been pinched, slapped, ignored and refused admission during labour. Others said they had to clean the floor of the hospital when they bled after giving birth.

“Women do not know their rights, and often don’t know that they can complain because of that the health system doesn’t benefit from this information,” she said.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that plans to overhaul the healthcare system were passed last week.

“The problem in this country is that all the experts are at the top. We need to re-engineer things so that we have a seat for a permanent gynaecologist and principal midwife in every district in the country,” he said.

“We need health workers that respect the basic rights of patients, and these new posts will provide competent people who will be responsible and accountable for instances of abuse.” — Sapa

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.


The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

A Mtubatuba councillor and a Hammarsdale ANC Youth League leader were shot yesterday near their homes

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it
Advertising

Press Releases

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Priorities of
 the Russian BRICS chairship in 2020

BRICS events planned for earlier this year were cancelled, but some will be conducted in the new format of video conference

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it