The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Mpumalanga Provincial Government to urgently take safety measures to beef up security at Mpumalanga hospitals as another patient is brutally attacked on hospital premises.
The safety of patients in the province’s hospitals is again in the spotlight. This is after a pregnant patient was allegedly raped by a general worker at the Embhuleni Hospital in Nhlazatshe last week. It is alleged that the perpetrator pretended to be a doctor before raping her.
This is the 54th incident of violence towards patients and healthcare workers in Mpumalanga hospitals in the last two financial years where the lives of healthcare professionals and patients were threatened. This is a serious concern to the DA as it seems that providing security at Mpumalanga hospitals is not a priority of the provincial government and the department of health.
It took the Mpumalanga government over 15 months to award a much-needed contract to provide security-related equipment to all hospitals – in the process leaving healthcare workers and patients vulnerable to attacks.
Since 2018, there have been several security breaches reported in Mpumalanga hospitals and clinics where unarmed security guards have been frequently overpowered by armed criminals. This even led to several strikes from healthcare workers.
Just recently, Barberton Hospital in Mpumalanga came under attack when a local soccer match became deadly, and a member of the public was shot at the hospital gates.
In 2019, a mob of people from a nearby tavern entered Witbank Hospital in Emalaheni and held doctors and nurses at gunpoint demanding they stop treating victims of a fight at the bar. A patient who was admitted for gunshot wounds was gunned down later the same week in the hospital’s corridors.
The DA calls on Mpumalanga Premier, Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, and Health MEC, Sasekani Manzini, to take the safety of frontline workers seriously. They must urgently put precautionary measures in place to strengthen security in all healthcare centers across the province.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Health Workers Safety Charter, which was released on 17 September 2020, calls on all governments and those running health services at local levels to take five actions to better protect health workers. These include steps to protect health workers from violence, to improve their mental health, to protect them from physical and biological hazards, to advance national programs for health worker safety, and to connect health worker safety policies to existing patient safety policies.
The DA hopes that the Mpumalanga Provincial Government will consider and follow the guidelines of WHO’s Health Workers Safety Charter.