The situation at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus requires urgent remedial action by the health authorities before it is too late.
Events of the past year have seen the hospital that was once hailed as a sign of progress and pride by and for the people of Kathorus being turned into a disgrace mired in controversy.
Rumours of maladministration coupled with claims of total disregard for the welfare of those entrusted in its care have now grown into national scandals.
The recent death of several newborn babies at the hospital is a serious indictment of those responsible for the health of the community. The tragic death of the five babies follows a litany of other complaints from members of the public about the inadequate treatment offered to patients at the hospital.
Many of the complaints are directed at the entire hospital staff. They have been accused of negligence and an uncaring attitude towards the very sickly patients they are supposed to care for.
Patients interviewed by this newspaper in the past related horrible personal stories about an uncaring nursing staff they claim caused misery and even unnecessary loss of life. Listening to these stories, one wonders what happened to the truly committed hospital nursing staff of bygone days, when nursing and care-giving was a calling.
The recent death of the five babies and the countless other claims made by patients about the services rendered by the hospital leave one in a rage. With the advancement of technology and science in the medical profession, a first-world hospital equipped with the most modern medical equipment, such Thelle Mogoerane Hospital, should be winning praise and not insults from the community.
October is World Mental Health Month. Have yourself checked at your local clinic.
It is no joke that a large percentage of people suffering from various forms of mental illness may not even be aware of the problem.
The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality has embarked on a campaign to create awareness and educate communities about mental illness. We could all be going crazy without even noticing it, and the best thing we can do about it is to undergo screening to detect any traces of mental illness.
According to the honourable Mr Patrick Magodzho, who happens to be acting manager for acute and chronic care for the City of Ekurhuleni, any one of us could be one of the thousands of the innocent-looking people we pass every day who are suffering from chronic or acute mental illness without even knowing it.
Magodzho paints a grim picture of how people who experience mental health problems are often stigmatised and, worse still, even ostracised by those close to them. Magodzho pointed out that in some worst-case scenarios, many people with mental illness are left to fend for themselves on the streets, living on handouts and charity.
Meanwhile, the lucky few who manage to get help, especially those who get help early, tend to recover fully and in cases of partial recovery, the patient lives with a controllable mental health condition.
However, Magodzho pointed out that the strong social stigma and discrimination against people living with a mental health condition become a strong deterrent to seeking help. Magodzho believes it is important for those who suffer from this malady in silence to seek help as soon as possible.
“Mental health is not only limited to hallucination or schizophrenia, which is mostly mental illness at its advanced stage. It also includes mild mental health problems that most people suffer from without even being aware of them, or displaying any noticeable mental illness behavioural traits,” explained Magodzho, adding that this should make it even more important for people to start having open conversations about mental health and even visit local clinics for mental health screening.
Magodzho warned that persistent headaches and feelings of depression or being stressed, change in eating patterns, becoming asocial and withdrawal symptoms are some of the indicators of mental illness that family and friends can easily notice.
In most cases of mental illnesses, there is no improvement without intervention, and if a patient is not treated, the condition may get worse over time and become acute. In light of this, residents are encouraged to visit their nearest primary healthcare facilities or mental health specialist.
All primary healthcare facilities in the City of Ekurhuleni offer screening services for mental health. After the screening process by a professional nurse, based on the needs identified, an appropriate referral is made to a facility which renders secondary mental health care.
A secondary mental health care level means that there is a multidisciplinary team (MDT) that consists of a psychologist, psychiatrist, social workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to assist the patient.
At this level, further assessment will be done and the outcomes will determine the appropriate management or interventions to be applied to assist the patient.
October 10 is commemorated as World Mental Health Day, to heighten global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. This is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide.
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