SAMA expresses disappointment at newborn babies being put in cardboard boxes

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The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has expressed disappointment at the circumstance surrounding newborn babies being put in cardboard boxes instead of incubators at a hospital in the North West province.

56 babies were delivered at the 25-capacity ward and some were placed in boxes. The incident has sparked outrage.

The association says what happened was not unexpected.

A preliminary report into the investigation is expected to be released on Tuesday.

The Province’s health department says it will place two employees of the hospital on suspension.

Health worker’s unions have since led a peaceful demonstration outside the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital, insisting that the workers are being made scapegoats, as the problem is due to a lack of resources at the hospital.

The South African Medical Association chairperson Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa says, “SAMA is very disappointed. But really what has happened is not unexpected, because incidents like these have been very common as also highlighted by the report of the ombuds in Gauteng.”

“The ombuds had said that this picture can be seen across the country- with the exception of some provinces like the Western Cape. But obviously, what we see now is what is on the ground. Workers are struggling on the ground, and they’re using whatever they can use to assist the situation.”

Pictures circulating on social media showed babies in the neonatal section of the hospital placed in boxes highlighting the dire state of the hospital, with health workers’ unions saying the nurses had to improvise.

With the suspension of the hospital managers possibly still on the cards, unions say they will fight tooth and nail to protect their members.

The video below is the full interview: