KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu hails Edendale Neonatal ward donation as a step in the right direction to reduce hospital infection for newborns

18 September 2019

KZN HEALTH MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu is pleased that fewer newborn babies are getting sick due to infections contracted after birth at Pietermaritzburg’s Edendale Hospital.

This is thanks to R300 000 worth of a donation from local shoe manufacturer Dick Whittington Shoes, which has financed the revamping of the hospital’s neonatal high care ward.

Amid a jubilant atmosphere earlier today, MEC Simelane-Zulu accepted the donation from one of the company directors, Dr May Mkhize.

As the country's fourth biggest hospital by bed size (it has 900 usable beds) Edendale Hospital sees an average 2000 outpatients per day, and delivers up to 700 babies per month.

The renovation of its neonatal high care ward has resulted in repairs to the walls, which had peeling paint, plaster and damaged bricks. The walls are now brightly-coloured and sport a variety of cartoon characters. The ward also now has new hand washing basins to improve infection control; and also enjoys increased spacing, thanks to a redesign in the positioning of the nursing station.

Its previously rotting and mould-covered cupboards have been replaced with brand new ones, enabling better storage of files and other materials.

Other notable improvements are:

  • A decrease in the nosocomial infection rate (the rate of diseases that may originate in a hospital setting).
  • A new viewing window, which improves control of visitors.
  • Improved lighting, and spacing between beds to accommodate mothers’ chairs next to their babies.
  • An Isolation area to allow nurses to be able to easily monitor patients.

Explaining how her company got to make this donation, Dr May Mkhize said a decision was taken during the centenary celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday last year to make a meaningful contribution to its neighbouring community rather than throw a party.

“We decided that instead of enjoying some treats, why not do something that will be of benefit to our community? We are in this community, and our workforce is from here... and when they are sick, or need to deliver babies, they use Edendale Hospital. So, we spoke to management of the hospital and enquired as to how we could help. They asked us to help renovate its neonatal ward.”

In accepting the donation from Dick Whittington Shoes, MEC Simelane-Zulu applauded this gesture, describing it exemplary, and something that others should follow.

“This is heartwarming and should be encouraged, and I hope it isn’t the last time that we are having this partnership. If we want our health services to grow... if we want our patients to be treated well... there is no one government or single department that can do that all on its own. These strategic partnerships are always encouraged and always bring about good change, and we really do appreciate them".

“One of the priorities of the Department is to reduce the child mortality rate. The donation that we’ve received today has already contributed towards that reduction because we’ve seen from that particular unit that the rate of infection has gone down because of the way they’ve restricted the spread of infections. We should really appreciate the donation because it’s what has made it possible for this hospital to restructure its own facility, as previously, it was not conductive to the nurses and medical staff to be able to observe the children. We really appreciate what Dick Whittington Shoes has done."

“We will sit down with the company and see what kind of partnership we can get into moving forward. We call on other private sector companies ... to come and partner with the Department, because this is the only way for us to be able to develop our people, particularly in previously disadvantaged areas where we must almost start afresh in ensuring that we bring our facilities into an acceptable level.”

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This page last edited on 19 September, 2019

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