Health MEC to in­ves­ti­gate Park Sta­tion birth

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ANNA WA­TERS

GAUT­ENG MEC for Health Dr Gwen Ramok­gopa has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cir­cum­stances that led to Francine Ngalula Kalala, an asylum-seeker from the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, giv­ing birth at Park Sta­tion.

On Mon­day, The Star re­ported that Kalala was turned away from three hos­pi­tals – Tsh­wane District, Steve Biko and Char­lotte Max­eke Aca­demic – be­cause of her asylum sta­tus.

Yes­ter­day, Ramok­gopa met the Kalala fam­ily at Char­lotte Max­eke Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal, where baby Em­manuella has been ad­mit­ted for med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion and ob­ser­va­tion.

Kalala’s hus­band, Serge, said the MEC told them that she was go­ing to in­ves­ti­gate who was on duty at the hos­pi­tals that turned them away. She ex­pressed her apolo­gies.

“We be­long to a global com­mu­nity that is ex­pected to treat ev­ery­body who presents at our fa­cil­i­ties and this is ex­pected from any health sys­tem in the world,” she said.

“I’m here as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. We have re­quested our qual­ity as­sur­ance to in­ves­ti­gate and help iden­tify of­fi­cials in­volved. We re­ally re­gret and are very con­cerned about this in­ci­dent.”

The MEC also noted that na­tion­al­ity is not used to de­ter­mine ac­cess to health care, and noted in her state­ment that the Char­lotte Max­eke Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal had de­liv­ered 1 691 ba­bies of for­eign nationals be­tween Jan­uary and May of this year, about 47% of to­tal de­liv­er­ies.

The DA’s spokesper­son for health in Gaut­eng, Jack Bloom, said the pro­vin­cial Health De­part­ment should “se­ri­ously ex­am­ine” the cir­cum­stances that led to the three state hos­pi­tals re­fus­ing ad­mis­sion to Kalala.

“This shame­ful saga ex­poses a highly dis­turb­ing streak of in­hu­man­ity in the hos­pi­tal staff who con­tra­vened the con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion to pro­vide ba­sic health care to ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing for­eign­ers.

“It is prob­a­bly not an iso­lated case,” Bloom said.

PIC­TURE: SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI

IN SAFE HANDS: Francine Ngalula Kalala and her baby Em­manuella Ka­bi­ena Kalala.

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