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Baby dies after referral to doctor is refused

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A nine-month old baby has died after clinic staff at the Fraserburg Community Health Centre allegedly refused to refer the child to a doctor.

A NINE-month old baby has died after clinic staff at the Fraserburg Community Health Centre allegedly refused to refer the child to a doctor.

According to the Democratic Alliance’s Dr Isak Fritz, baby Lowaylen Maans died earlier this month after being sick for three weeks.

“The baby’s mother, Shannon Maans, visited the community health centre approximately six times, seeking medical care for her little one,” Fritz said yesterday.

“The nurse told her to give the baby water to drink and never referred him to the doctor. Even when the baby experienced a bloody stool, the sister was not perturbed and still refused to refer the baby, despite the mother insisting that her son be sent to see a doctor at Calvinia Hospital.

“Baby Lowaylen eventually passed away after what can only be described as a deadly lack of care from the Fraserburg CHC,” Fritz stated.

The party has called on the MEC of Health, Mase Manopole, to launch an urgent investigation into the state of health care at the Fraserburg Community Health Centre.

“We are devastated by the baby’s death. If Lowaylen had been given a proper diagnosis and received quality health care, he might still be alive today,” Fritz stated.

“This is not the first time that the Fraserburg CHC has come under the spotlight. The DA previously received complaints about high absenteeism and staff being drunk on duty, which we referred to the sister in charge.”

Fritz added that more than a year ago he also raised his concerns regarding the particular nurse and the Fraserburg facility with then MEC of Health, Fufe Makatong. “At the time, I had witnessed truant nurses leaving security officials in charge of patients, with no sister on duty over weekends.”

According to Fritz, other findings included a lack of control at the facility that saw patient records being kept in an unsecure area.

“Pharmaceuticals were also not secure and there was no control over the dispensing of medicines, enabling staff to help themselves without any access control register having to be filled in.”

He said that at the time he called for urgent intervention

“I have since also unsuccessfully called on the Legislature Portfolio Committee Chairperson of Health, Sanna Tieties, to schedule an oversight inspection to the facility. I have even tried to phone MEC Manopole but could not reach her. I am now calling out to her one last time to do something about the state of health care at this facility or risk getting blood on her hands.”

The party called on the portfolio committee, accompanied by the MEC, to conduct a thorough oversight inspection of the facility and also to institute an investigation into all the allegations raised, including the death of baby Lowaylen.

“Baby Lowaylen and his family deserve justice.”

Spokesperson for the Department of Health, Lebogang Majaha, said in response that Manopole welcomed the call made by the DA for an urgent investigation to be launched into the state of health care at the Fraserburg Community Health Centre.

“However, Manopole has always maintained transparency and accountability since her appointment as MEC for Health in the Province,” Majaha added. “We wish to advise Dr Fritz to avoid using serious matters, especially such as Baby Lowaylen Maans’ death, for political point-scoring and for ignoring to elevate the report directly to the MEC for investigation.

“We urge Dr Fritz to deliver the letter of complaint, if it was handed over to him by the family, to the Health Ministry offices or rather to follow the prescribed legislative processes to report this matter, as he has failed to do the honourable thing.”