Good infrastructure is crucial for the effective provision of health services to the public. However, KwaZulu-Natal has faced various challenges in this regard. Last year, for example, CT scanners at three of the province’s main hospitals were not working, putting a strain on its other already burdened hospitals. Similar reports about malfunctioning equipment and a lack of other resources have constantly cropped up in the media.
But, says the MEC of health in the province, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, the province is actively upgrading its infrastructure. This includes the construction of the Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme Regional hospital at Bridge City near Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu. According to Dhlomo, the site handover took place in January this year and the project has commenced as the department’s flagship project for this term.
“It’s expected to take four years to complete at an approximate cost of R2.8-billion,” he said. The hospital is expected to alleviate the burden currently experienced by the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Phoenix.
Elsewhere, the Bethesda Hospital, situated in the small village of Ubombo, in the north-eastern corner of KwaZulu-Natal, has just received a R25-million upgrade, with the completion of a new paediatric ward and a twenty bed mother waiting lodge.
Major (and much needed) renovations and refurbishment totalling R202.8 million are also currently in progress at Durban’s Addington Hospital, where the theatres and external facades have already been complete.
At Ngewelezane Hospital, which provides district, regional and tertiary services to communities from the uThungulu, Umkhanyakude and Zululand Districts, a new psychiatric ward that cost R180-million in total is almost complete, and the construction of a 192 surgical unit has commenced. Upgrades
to the value of R87.3-million have already been complete at Phoenix Mortuary, whilst the rebuilding of the KZN Children’s Hospital is expected to be complete by 2018 at a cost of R300-million. “Building of the Assessment/Training centre, and external façade renovations to the main old hospital building and old nurse’s home are complete,” says Dhlomo.
“Work has commenced on the bulk services hub and basement/parking area.” The hospital is being rebuilt two decades after it closed owing to apartheid. It opened in 1931 as a facility for all races, but closed in the 1980s due to racial tensions.
According to Dhlomo, other infrastructure upgrades include: Lower Umfolozi War Memorial Hospital (refurbishment of the old wing and construction of the new one at a cost of R427.6-million), Newcastle Hospital (upgrades to the value of R6.8-million) and Emmaus Hospital (extensions costing R132.2-million).
A community health centre has also been built from scratch in Jozini and is 90% complete. It comprises a main clinic building, a main radiology building, a laboratory, a maternity, woman and child centre, a site for dealing with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, staff accommodation and a dentistry casualty department.