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Speech by KZN Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo on the occasion of a farewell function for Professor Gumbi

31 March 2015

It is with a heavy heart that I stand here today to bid farewell to one of our outstanding and illustrious managers.
I stand proud of the decision that we took in 2010 to recall Prof Gumbi from retirement and entrust her with a responsibility to lead this historic hospital.
Prior to her arrival here, the residents of this beautiful township of Umlazi had lost all hopes and were infamously referring to Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital as UMSHIYAZAFE.
In my capacity as both the Health MEC as well as the Chairperson of the ANC EThekwini Region; I have lost count of the meetings and sessions I had with the local leadership and community members in general to listen and address their complains about this institution.
It will also be prudent to note that it was not only the residents of Umlazi that were suffering, but those at Makhutha; Folweni; uMbumbulu; Malukazi and all the uninsured people in the South of this city.

Wisdom informed us that due Government processes of advertising for the CEO position at that time could not take us anywhere. We had to find a very strong leader to turn this institution around – provide direction to the staff members and give hope to our people.
To this very last day; I repeat, we do not regret the decision we made in deploying Prof. Rachel Vuyiswa Gumbi here.

Her qualities speak for themselves. We had known that she was the fifth Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zululand and the first woman to hold that position at that University.
We had also gleaned from her curriculum vitae that she had been a Chief Director: Human Resource Development at the National Department of Health. A position that entailed working together with different strands including Health Councils; Professional Associations; Non-Governmental Organizations, Employee organizations as well as Unions.
It was explained to her that the community being served here were saying they rather have no hospital at all than to be continuously subjected to substandard healthcare.
What she had to deal with, amongst other problems, entailed:

  •  Negative image due to attitudes of personnel
  •  Negative image due to media reports
  •  Health personnel working in silos
  •  Lack of cordial interaction with the community
  •  Lack of support from the Local Leaders
  •  Long periods for dispensing medicine
  •  Infrastructure not user friendly for people with disability (no lifts; no ablution facilities, no ramps etc.)
  •  Debilitated paint of the buildings (affecting the ecstatic’s including the entrance)
  •  Congestion in the medical out- patients

As a team player and an innovative person, today we all stand proud of her leadership.

The transformation taking place here did not escape the attention of our President, Honourable Jacob Zuma, who when addressing the Nursing Summit in Sandton had this to say:
‘The attitudes must change, we must shorten the waiting times or delays in receiving care and health services personnel must ensure that all facilities are clean and tidy at all times.
Health professionals must prevent the transmission of infections and cross-infections inside hospitals and clinics, and ensure a reliable provision of basic medicines and supplies.
These are just some of the few improvements that are expected from all public health facilities.
If we implement these provisions, visits to our facilities will be a more tolerable and pleasant experience for our people.
It will be as pleasant as what we have been informed has happened at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in uMlazi, Durban.
The hospital has been turned around from being the worst hospital in the country to one which is being praised by patients and the community for good service, efficiency and friendly staff.’
Yes, we can all attest to that as Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital is today a secured healthcare institution abiding to SAFETY AND SECURITY for its patients; staff and Infrastructure through:

  •  Installation of CCTV Cameras at the main gate and pharmacy.
  •  Installation of electric doors in paediatrics wards, nursery, maternity and ICU.
  •  Mash wires in the ward.
  •  Ablution facilities for people with disability.
  •  Renovation of the ablution facilities in the wards and outpatients departments.
  •  Revamping of the maternity theatre.
  •  Vinyl sheeting, stripping and sealing of floors in the wards.
  • Provision of Granite tiles in all the frontline areas with a high flow of patients.

Our communities are the biggest beneficiaries in efforts made in reducing WAITING TIMES. Truth of the matter is that, waiting times:

  • At Pharmacy in 2010 was up to 3 days – today it is 48 minutes
  • Patient Administration in 2010 was 2 hours and today it is 45 minutes
  • Waiting time for Out-Patients in 2010 was 8 hours and ; today it is 2 hours

CLEANLINESS has also improved as a result of the:

  • Employment of a Manager for cleaning services as well as two Supervisors.
  • Procurement of the 60 genitor trolleys as required by the National Core Standard.

INFECTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL measures are also adhered to as evident in the:

  • Reduction in the number of Health care acquired infections with no outbreaks having happened during her tenure.
  • Procurement of hand basins and elbow action taps for all clinical areas

Confidence has been reinstated even among the personnel as shown through the filling of key Staff posts:

  • In 2010 this Hospital had 20 Specialists and today it has 40
  • In 2010 it had 12 Clinical Managers; today they are 15
  • In 2010 there were 102 Medical Officers and today they are 120
  • Same with Sessional Doctors who were 12 in 2010 and 20 in 2015
  • Staff development is also taking place with 10 Personnel currently doing research for their post-graduate studies (PhD and Masters)
    Indeed, all these innovations have had a positive impact on both the staff as well as the clients being served.

Professor Gumbi has helped in fostering a culture of togetherness by promoting interaction with staff through focus group discussion and staff Izimbizos.

She understood Homer Rice, the Philosopher very well, when he advised:
‘You can motivate by fear and you can motivate by reward. But both those are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation.’’

Indeed positive feedbacks and accolades are now being received as problems and challenges are identified and solved accordingly through the enactment of:

  • Client Satisfaction Surveys quarterly for in-patients and out-patients.
  • Waiting Time Surveys in all frontline areas quarterly
  • Staff satisfaction surveys
  • Management conducting walk-about of the institution
  • Implementation of the National Core Standards

We are also happy to notice that the Hospital is no longer regarded as the leprosy judging by partnerships it has forged with both the public and private sector resulting in:

  • Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) providing split fans for the wards for cooling of patients
  • University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN)
  • For research with HIV and AIDS (RHH)
  • Provision of toys and decorations for paediatric wards
  • SAPREF - Donating 18 air-conditioners for the Medical Wards (6 per ward)
  • ABSA - Donating toys for the paediatric wards
  • Robin Hood Foundation – providing Baby layettes (100 per cycle) with the last lot given in March 2015.
  • Gideon’s Bible Society – Supplying bibles for personnel and patients periodically.
  • Cyrene Full Gospel Church – with the donation of layettes and babies’ clothes for new born babies – ongoing partnership.
  • CZEH REPUBLIC - Providing Intensive Care beds and Maternity Care beds
  • HPP – Donating Bone density Machine
  • Umlazi Plaza Butchery & Investments – erecting the shelter for patients to protect from sun and rainy weather conditions
  • 120 Chairs donated by our Specialist in the Internal Medicine.
  • Vulindlela Holdings – donating a projector and moveable screen now used for meetings, education and training e.g. Keep Fit Programme by internal and external personnel.

To the future Chief Executive Officer for this Hospital, we say; keep up the momentum and be mindful of the fact that this institution is now being used as a BENCHMARKING SITE FOR SHARING OF BEST PRACTICES by:

  • Free State Province
  • Addington Hospital
  • St Mary’s Hospital
  • Hlabisa Hospital
  • Edendale Hospital
  • RK Khan Hospital

As we bid farewell to Prof Gumbi; we also want to express our gratitude to the community at large for giving us a chance and support to turn this Hospital around.
Lastly, we thank the Gumbi family for their generosity in allowing us to snatch their granny from the comforts of retirements – to come back and serve the people.
It is a journey worth travelled and worthy to be recorded in our annals as a Department.
Prof Gumbi, you were God sent.
Fare thee well.

MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo then announced Dr Tshabalala as the new CEO for Prince Mshiyeni Memorial hospital.

Prov RV Rachel Gumbi with THE MEC for Health in Kwazulu-Natal Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo


The New CEO for Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital Dr Sandile Tshabalala, Th MEC for Health in Kwazulu-Natal Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Prof Rachel Gumbi, Mr Ajesh Maharaj, Dr Mandlenkosi Maziz Acting Deputy Director General Specialised Services and Clinical Support and Siphiwo Yose Ethekwini District Manager


Mr Dumisani Gumbi;Mrs Nokuthula Dlamini Gumbi;Ms Sinqobile Gumbi, Prof Rachel Gumbi, Ms Thokozani Gumbi, Mrs Bongiwe Magudulela and THE MEC for Health in Kwazulu-Natal Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo

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