The infant mortality rate at the Pelonomi Regional Hospital in Bloemfontein, Free State, is almost three times higher than the national average – and many of these deaths could have been avoided.
This is according to Mariette Pittaway, DA MPL in the Free State, who said the hospital’s maternity ward had been plagued by severe staff shortages, lack of equipment and access to theatres.
Many deaths could have been avoided
In its Midyear Population Estimates report Stats SA recorded the national infant mortality rate to be 36.4 deaths per 1 000 live births (3.6%). During a recent Democratic Alliance oversight inspection of the Pelonomi Regional Hospital, it was revealed that its infant mortality rate has skyrocketed from 7.3% in 2017 to 11.2% in 2018.
“The theatres in this ward have been under renovation since 2015, and we could not get any indication from the hospital management when the theatres would again be operational,” said Pittaway.