Coronavirus in Africa

Image via Adobe Stock

Coronavirus in Africa: Scare in Namibia, as SA hospital ‘not ready’ for cases

The Tembisa Hospital has been identified as a main treatment facility for coronavirus patients. But the DA aren’t happy. Namibia is also affected.

Coronavirus in Africa

Image via Adobe Stock

At the start of the working week, we’re looking at how the coronavirus is affecting those of us in South Africa and our friends across the border. Namibia is dealing with its first suspected case, and the DA is kicking off over the sub-standard record of a Gauteng hospital chosen to host patients who come down with the illness.

Coronavirus in Africa – no confirmed cases yet

Tests are still being done in Namibia on one patient who is thought to have the coronavirus. They returned back to the country from China at the end of last week. The Health Ministry has warned against “fear-mongering”, and stress that the situation is under control.

Meanwhile, going east across out border, Botswana has been able to dismiss five suspected cases of coronavirus this weekend. Those who had displayed the symptoms did not test positive for the infection. As of 13:00 on Monday 3 February, there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Africa.

Which hospitals in SA will house potential patients?

There was a statement released in December, which revealed 10 babies had succumbed to a pneumonic-infection over a two month period at the Tembisa Hispotal, with figures available until 31 December 2019. The 44-bed neo-natal unit is often overcrowded, and staff have previously complained about their working conditions, casting doubt over Tembisa’s ability to host coronavirus patients.

The bacteria tends to thrive in care facilities. If medical equipment isn’t cleaned properly, it can be a breeding ground for pneumonia and this strain of coronavirus. In a place like the Tembisa facility, disease doesn’t have far to travel before it claims a victim. Jack Bloom, the DA’s leader in Gauteng, is upset that this location was chosen as one of three Gauteng hospitals to house patients with the deadly disease:

“Tembisa Hospital has been identified as one of three hospitals in Gauteng that will treat coronavirus cases, but this hospital is severely overcrowded and is only just recovering from antibiotic-resistant klebsiella infections that caused the deaths of 10 babies.”

“Unlike the other two identified hospitals, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg and Steve Biko, there is simply no space at Tembisa Hospital to isolate coronavirus patients. It cannot be that Tembisa Hospital was chosen simply because it is near the OR Tambo airport where coronavirus-infected patients could enter the country.”

Jack Bloom