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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Gillion Mashego is sued R7bn for hospital negligence

This is almost half his department’s R13.3bn budget.

Mpumalanga health MEC Gillion Mashego’s department is being taken to court to account for hospital negligence.

He is being sued R7.6 billion in hospital medical negligence.

Most of these cases involve children, who got brain-damaged during the process of birth – allegedly because of the conduct of negligent hospital staff.

This information was presented to Parliament this week.

Parliament’s health committee has asked provincial health departments to come report on the state of their hospital services.

Mpumalanga’s head of health Savera Mohangi told Parliament that the province currently faces 158 legal claims relating to childbirths and the women giving birth.

“A single claim can cost between R12m and R40m,” she said.

ALSO RELATED: Parly committee puts Gillion Mashego on spotlight

Mpumalanga also run short of orthopedic specialists and a large number of claimants are in court for orthopedic damages.

Mohangi told Parliament that the challenges they faced with shortage of staff and ambulances had led to deterioration in the emergency response time.

Mohangi spoke to MPs on Tuesday this week.

Meanwhile, the DA has written to Premier Refilwe Mtsweni asking her to intervene in the issue of the closure of the Siyabuswa clinic in KwaNdebele due to staff shortages.

(edited by ZK)

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Malaria kills 2 in Mpumalanga

Of a total of 585 reported malaria cases across the Mpumalanga province, 294 are in the Bushbuckridge area where the two patients died.

Two patients died between April and May 2017, suspectedly of Malaria in the Mpumalanga province.

Officials said the two patients died at the Tintswalo hospital, in Bushbuckridge.

Statistics of reported Malaria cases show Tintswalo hospital recorded the highest number – 36 malaria new infections between April and May 2017.

In 2016, malaria cases stood at 499, lower than the 585 currently reported in April/May 2017.

Over 290 of the 585 Malaria cases that have been reported across Mpumalanga are in the Bushbuckridge area.

The cases are spread all over the area of Bushbuckridge and people in Acornhoek, Welverdiend, Marite, Dumfries and Seville villages are affected.

A majority of cases are locally transmitted, with a few coming from Limpopo and neighbouring Mozambique and Zimbabwe, where malaria is endemic.

Malaria kills 2 in Mpumalanga

A health worker sprays chemicals that kills malaria carrying mosquitos.

Enough medications and test kits have been supplied to areas experiencing malaria infections.

“We would like to assure our people and those who are visiting the province that we have everything under control,” Health MEC Gillion Mashego said.

“Our Malaria teams are on the ground to contain the disease,” Mashego said.

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Officials have asked that anyone having the following symptoms should immediately visit healthcare centres:

• Fever

• Headache

• Rigors (cold shivers/hot sweats)

• Myalgia or general body pains

• Weakness (general body weakness)

• Dizziness

• Loss of appetite

• Diarrhoea, Nausea and Vomiting

• Flu-like symptoms

Mashego said: “All our health facilities are ready to deal with the Malaria outbreak”.

“We encourage everyone to ensure that they test for the disease to ensure that they remain safe,” he added.

(edited by ZK)

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Mpumalanga health department criticised for scrapping 13 000 jobs

A national government drive to reduce public expenditure across the country has landed a Mpumalanga department in fire.

This week Mpumalanga health MEC Gillion Mashego was scrutinised for scrapping 12 836 vacancies in the provincial healthcare centres as part of government’s efforts to reduce a public service wage bill that “is far above the norm”.

The SABC said scrapping more than 12 000 jobs spelled a potential health crises in the province.

“The move has exerted immense pressure on the province’s ailing healthcare with some healthcare centres operating with less than 50% of the workforce,” the SABC reported. “A situation which could put the lives of patients at risk,” it reported last night.

“With a staggering number of unemployed healthcare workers, patients are the biggest losers”.

The state broadcaster then interviewed the uncle of a teenage girl who died in labour this week Monday and said was due to staff shortages.

“The nurse that works there told us she can’t help us as she is alone and not a midwife,” the 17-year-old girl’s uncle, Archie Mashego, told the SABC last and said they were forced to wait in the queue for four hours but then the girl died afterwards together with her baby.

“The family blames the department for their loss,” the SABC said.

Officials of the opposition DA said they were also concerned about government’s high public service bill but said scrapping 12 836 jobs signified a poor decision making on MEC Mashego’s part.

READ ALSO: DA slams Mabuza for not firing Health MEC

“This is bizarre considering that the healthcare already suffers debilitating staff shortages,” the party’s Jane Sithole said in a statement.

She said of the 12 836 abolished posts only 3 120 were payed for by the department and scrapping these “will undoubtedly create a huge burden for the remaining staff members who will be overworked to make up for the staff loses”.

“Mashego must do the right thing and step down, our people need a caring government,” Sithole said and later on she blamed, on SABC, the lack of accountability on the part of officials, saying more than 3 000 of the 12 836 vacancies were funded posts and wanted to know what happened to the money.

Mpumalanga health director Jabulani Nkosi said not only the health department followed the directive from the top but an instruction was issued to all departments to cut costs by abolishing.

(edited by MLM)

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