Rahima Moosa Hospital Dr Tim De Maayer

Health department dealing with issues raised by a doctor at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital. Photo: Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital/Facebook

Gauteng health addresses Rahima Moosa Mother and Child hospital issues

Dr Tim De Maayer penned down a heartfelt letter about the challenges faced at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Johannesburg.

Rahima Moosa Hospital Dr Tim De Maayer

Health department dealing with issues raised by a doctor at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital. Photo: Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital/Facebook

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has taken note of an outcry expressed by a clinician at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital (RMMCH) about the state of health care provision at the facility and in the province in general.

Dr Tim De Maayer wrote an open letter earlier this week about the crisis at the hospital. He described how “things are falling apart”, and children are dying because of basic services not being available.


In Dr De Maayer’s letter to the health department, published by News24, he speaks of all the problems faced at the hospital and the harsh conditions the staff and patients have to endure.  

In his letter the doctor also asks that the hospital be exempted from load shedding as the generators are unfortunately inadequately sized to supply the hospital.

“Having worked in the public sector for 21 years, I can tell you frankly: things are falling apart,”

said Dr De Maayer in his letter.

The doctor has been working at the hospital since 2009 a paediatrician.


The department of health has admitted that there are challenges within the health system in the province and in the country in general.

Spokesperson, Kwara Kekana said the Gauteng health system remains intact and continues to service millions of patients annually from within the province and from neighbouring provinces and countries.

She said the general issues raised will be dealt with separately. 

In relations to the specific RMMCH issues raised the department would like to state the following on record:

“The hospital has over the past decade seen an increase in patient load with no increase in infrastructure development. It has steadily increased intake from 10 000 deliveries to 16 000 deliveries per year, which is the second highest in the country. 

“To add more capacity, the hospital has repurposed 22 beds to accommodate more antenatal patients in the last two years making a total of 56 antenatal beds, which is still insufficient,”

added Kekana.


In regards to services interruption, Kekana said hospitals render essential services and should be excluded from service interruptions. Sadly, the current reality is that healthcare facilities often bear the brunt of interruptions in water supply or electricity outages. 

She explained that even service delivery protests impact on providing health care to communities as roads are sometimes barricaded or even damaged to the extent that emergency vehicles struggle to get to patients requiring emergency care.

With regards to the load shedding problem, RMMCH has made a submission to the City of Johannesburg to be excluded from the ongoing load shedding schedule to ensure minimal interruption to services. Kekana indicated that they awaiting feedback from the City on the request made.

“In addition, the RMMCH has ensured that there are alternative measures put in place for when there are water supply challenges at the facility. These include an erection of a borehole which was donated by the Gift of the Givers, as well as water tanks provided by the  Johannesburg Water. 

“The Department acknowledges that these measures are not ideal as they sometimes do not provide adequate water supply and will liaise with the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure and Development to replace and re-route the old and rusted pipes running underneath the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital,”

explained Kekana.

Coming to the issue of the hospital acquired infections, she said the recorded rate of hospital acquired infections in the hospital is 1.38% on average in the last twelve-month. 

She said there is a functional infection control process in the facility. The scheduled multidisciplinary meeting between Infection Prevention Control Unit and the management of Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital sits monthly to look at any issues in this area.

Kekana further explained that the main challenge with access to 24-hour laboratory services, the hospital relies on the neighbouring Helen Joseph Hospital for this service. This is compounded by the impact of the Charlotte Maxeke hospital situation. She said the department is considering options to further address this challenge.


As already stated by Kekana, the number of deliveries at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital has doubled over the years thus impacting on the need of additional essential supplies. 

“This situation has been exacerbated by the situation at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital where remedial work is currently under way. To mitigate the issue of stock availability there is a formal working agreement with neighbouring facilities to augment each other’s capacity. The appointment of a dedicated stock controller has been finalized to assist ward stock rooms in the management of essential supplies stock levels,”

said Kekana.

 Withe regards to the CT scan at the hospital not working, as part of ensuring uninterrupted healthcare provision RMMCH has made contingency plans for its patients that need services requiring the use of a CT scan, whilst the process to fix the machine is underway, explained Kekana. 

She further said that patients are referred and transported to nearby facilities which

include the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and Leratong Hospital. According to her this has ensured minimal delays in patients needing access to the service.


Despite Gauteng Health’s response to the issues at RMMCH, the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow MEC for health, Jack Bloom was not happy with the response. 

He said it was a weak response to the heartfelt plea by Dr De Maayer. 

Dr De Maayer describes how “things are falling apart”, and children are dying because of basic services not being available.

“I challenged Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in the health budget debate in the Gauteng Legislature to admit that there is a full-scale crisis, rather than “pressures” as she has said in a recent interview.

“But her response was only more of the same that we have heard before, that the department is responding and issues are being addressed,” 

said Bloom.

Although the department had given a reason why the CT scan at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital is not working, Bloom said when he asked the health MEC as to when the CT Scanner would be fixed she could not give him a firm date.

Meanwhile, Dr De Maayer describes how a child needed an urgent brain scan but had to wait 48 hours before it could be done at the Nelson Mandela Childrens Hospital.

“The key issue is why there wasn’t a continuous maintenance contract for the scanner and a plan to replace it when it predictably broke down after being used for a normal lifespan.

“This is a problem at other public hospitals in Gauteng where vital machinery breaks down all the time and patients’ lives are put at risk,”

said Bloom.

Bloom said the first step in addressing a crisis is to admit that there is a crisis and that Dr De Maayer is correct to say that “things are falling apart”.

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