Mtsweni calls for calm during diarrhoea outbreak

She says the government is working “tirelessly to deal with the infection.

Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni has called for calm in eHlanzeni as diarrhoea cases are alarmingly on the rise.

1 300 cases have been reported by the health department since last month began.

SEE ALSO: Unknown illness kills two in Tekwane South, KaNyamazane

“The provincial government has expressed a serious concern as the transmission of this infection seems to be moving from one area to another,” Mtsweni’s spokesman Zibonele Mncwango said.

“To date, over 1 300 cases of diarrhoea have been reported in health facilities especially within Mbombela municipality,” Mncwango said.

Water tests are currently being conducted by authorities from the eHlanzeni district municipality and City of Mbombela to determine the source of the outbreak, Mncwango said.

“Although the provincial government is not too sure where the germ seems to be coming from, citizens are meanwhile being encouraged to exercise caution by continuously wash[ing] hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet, wash hands as well as after changing baby nappies and after throwing away rubbish. They are encouraged to prepare safe food by constantly washing or peeling fruit and vegetables, cook food thoroughly especially meat and should store food in a clean and cool place,” he said.

Residents are also encouraged to pour a teaspoon of bleach into 25-litres water, mix well and wait for at least 30 minutes or to boil the water for at least three minutes before consuming.

Health officials were on the field encouraging people to look for symptoms and go to their nearest clinic.

Since the outbreak nobody has died except two people, one in Tekwane South and another in KaNyamazane who authorities suspect were killed by drinking dirty water. A bacteria called Shigella was found in their bodies by the Institute of Communicable Diseases – suggesting they were killed by contaminated water.

Feeling nausea, vomiting as well as feeling stomach cramps are just some of the signs of diarrhoea.

“The provincial government is conversely satisfied that there are no deaths related to the current diarrhoea outbreak,” Mncwango said.

“It therefore wishes to call for calm and encourages citizens to adhere to prevention while we are speedily dealing with the outbreak. We also have noted the opportunistic ill-informed rumourmongers who are intending to cause excessive public panic,” he said.

(edited by MLM)

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Unknown illness kills two in Tekwane South, KaNyamazane

Health officials say they have seen an increase in cases of diarrhoea in the eHlanzeni district.

The Mpumalanga health department has reported the death of two people by an unknown illness.

Water contamination is suspected to be the cause of death.

Departmental spokesman Dumisani Malamule said results from the Institute of Communicable Diseases showed the presence of Shigella species, caused by drinking dirty water.

Since 20 July 2018, an increase in cases of diarrhoea have been noticed in Tekwane South and KaNyamazane but now this has spread to other areas in Pienaar and KaMagugu.

“Health promotion practitioners are on the field conducting health education on water,” Malamule said, adding the residents are advised on a lot of things including diarrhoea symptoms.

He said 307 cases of the unknown illness have been reported but two people have since died.

(edited by MLM)

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Standerton TB hospital to move to Tjakastad

Officials say they discovered that government built a clinic in Tjakastad but is under-utilised and can now become a hospital.

The Mpumalanga health department is considering moving the Standerton TB hospital to the area of Tjakastad, near Badplaas, in the coming financial year.

This follows health MEC Gillion Mashego’s discovery that the hospital in the area was dilapidating and that interventions were needed to avert the health hazards that the hospital’s poor state is causing.

Owners of the Standerton building from whom government is renting the TB hospital at R1.2 million every year are not renovating it and recommendations by department officials have been made for government to cut ties with them and relocate the hospital as they are in breach of national health standards.

Officials said if the Standerton building was owned by government they were going to renovate it but not when they do not own it.

Now Mashego wants this hospital moved to the Tjakastad area in order for the clinic of the area to serve as the new TB hospital.

The department says the Tjakastad clinic is well-built on government land and few revamps will be needed – for around R9 million – to enable it to be a fully-fledged hospital.

(edited by ZK)

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MP Health Dept forks out R90m in medical negligence

Of this amount, only R33 million has been paid out in current financial year.

The Mpumalanga department of health has to pay an amount of just over R94 million to victims of medical negligence at its hospitals.

When the patients suffered negligence under the hands of nurses and doctors, their relatives went to courts, suing the provincial department for the suffering caused to the patient.

DA shadow health MEC in the Mpumalanga province, Jane Sithole, said of all the nurses and doctors who were found to have been on the wrong in cases in which the department was sued, were protected and no disciplinary actions taken against them.

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“The DA calls on the Mpumalanga Health Department to take meaningful action against health workers who have been found to be negligent,” said Sithole.

“Although healthcare practitioners who are found to have been negligent during their practice are protected under regulation 12 of the Treasury Regulations in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) it does not stop the Department from taking internal action against them,” she said.

Departmental spokesman Dumisani Malamule promised to comment once a statement from his office has been approved by the head of department.

(edited by MLM)

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Parliament committee puts Gillion Mashego’s health dept on spotlight

The Parliament’s oversight committee has expressed concerns at what they say is “paralysis” at the Mpumalanga health department.

The chairwoman of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration/Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Makhosi Khoza, said they received reports that the health department in the province was not complying with the majority of indicators in the Management Performance Assessment Tool.

The committee is on a two-day visit in the province and will do its last day checking clinics and hospitals.

Parliament committee puts Gillion Mashego's health dept on spotlight

Patients queue at a Mpumalanga hospital. PICTURE: Caxton Media

It said this non-compliance undermines government’s commitment to deliver an efficient, effective and “development-oriented public service” as set out in the Constitution.

Khoza said: “It is disturbing that the department of health received 0% compliance in relation to the Financial Disclosures Framework (FDF) Act”.

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“This is disturbing considering the fact that all other provincial departments posted over 81% in FDF compliance,” she said.

She said this undermined section 195 of the South African Constitution which promises transparency and accountability “and creates a breeding ground for

When 013NEWS contacted Health MEC Gillion Mashego for reaction, he said he been he has been engaged in a visit with his national portfolio committee whose chairperson is the honourable Dunjwa and had no knowledge of the other oversight visit said to be taking place over his department in the province.

“I don’t think its correct that the parliamentary committee can conduct oversight and then report to the media. They have not told me anything about their findings.

“I would expect that if they made findings concerning the work of the department they would have called me and discussed it with me first instead of reporting to the media”. Mashego said over the phone on Tuesday night.

The committee also said they found contractors who did job with the department were not paid within the 30 days,  causing a backlog of 12 581 unpaid invoices to the value of R1.4 billion.

Of their targets in spending on resources, only 55% were achieved by health department, despite the fact that they spent the entire allocated budget.

There were also no evaluation of the performance of heads of department within the entire provincial administration for the 2015/2016 financial year, the committee found.

“The department of health was the only department not to have a signed performance agreement with its HoD as per performance management and
development system policy.

“This must be urgently rectified,” Khoza said.

(edited by MLM)

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