babies placed in boxes Mahikeng Hospital

DENOSA has weighed in on the incident at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital neonatal intensive care unit. Image: Canva.

DENOSA defends nurses who placed newborn babies in boxes

DENOSA says nurses at Mahikeng Hospital are not at fault for placing babies in boxes instead of cribs as there is a shortage of equipment.

babies placed in boxes Mahikeng Hospital

DENOSA has weighed in on the incident at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital neonatal intensive care unit. Image: Canva.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in North West says the issue of babies being placed in cardboard boxes instead of incubators or cribs at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital does not need any investigation as it is the daily reality that healthcare workers are always faced with in the healthcare service centres due to the shortage of equipment and resources. 

Health MEC in North West, Madoda Sambatha instituted an investigation to find out how long the newborn babies were placed in boxes at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. 


According to the nursing organisation, the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital has been short of 20 incubators and cribs for a long period of time now, with no sign of these coming. 

The unit has 25 incubators, and had more than 55 babies on the day in question, looked after by only seven nurses.   

ALSO READ: Newborn babies placed in boxes instead of incubators in North West hospital

DENOSA Provincial Secretary in the North West, Reuben Molete said the matter of procuring the incubators and cribs has been with procurement for a long time and they would like to see the MEC focusing on those who are supposed to ensure that the incubators and cribs are procured, which are not the nurses as that is not their function. 

babies placed in boxes Mahikeng Hospital
Nurses honour colleagues who have departed during COVID-19 last year. Photo: DENOSA/ Facebook.

ALSO READ: Newborn baby strangled, wrapped in plastic bag and dumped

“Because Mahikeng Hospital provides the highest level of care that there is in the whole of Ngaka Modiri Molema District, the only option the healthcare workers often have in situations where the facility is full is to either turn the patients away or keep them in an inappropriate unit for their illnesses or refer them to facilities of equal level of care which are two hours away either at Tshepong Hospital Complex in Klerksdorp or Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital in Rustenburg.

“DENOSA is concerned that the act of being surprised by the management of this incident is nothing but a mere argument of convenience and yet another attempt to throw under the bus the dedicated and hardworking healthcare workers who are always forced to improvise under these constant conditions that are characterized by reduction of budgets for procurement of equipment and resources in healthcare facilities.”

Reuben Molete

Furthermore, Molete DENOSA believes the only investigation that is needed is why it has taken this long for the procurement of these essential incubators and cribs when indications of their urgent need was made a long time ago.

ALSO READ: Woman arrested for dumping and trying to burn body of newborn baby