As we enter the festive season, the pandemic continues to endure. With fears of a second surge punishing the country, the Amajuba District is ensuring it is fully prepared for anything the contagion might throw its way. This follows the official opening of a brand new COVID-19 facility at Niemeyer Hospital, at eMadlangeni (Utrecht), under the Amajuba District, on Tuesday, 8 December 2020.
From a dilapidated facility with crumbling infrastructure and makeshift beds positioned in the corridors, the 80-year-old district hospital has undergone an impressive major transformation in just six months.
It now has 33 brand-new fully equipped isolation beds, state of the art buildings and other infrastructure; and an improved staff complement – all ready to treat patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Speaking at the opening, KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu explained Niemeyer Hospital was among the first hospitals which had to be repurposed, following confirmation of the country’s first COVID-19 case in March 2020.
Its renovation, which started on 8 May 2020 and was completed on 1 October 2020, was done in line with the Department’s approach that each of the province’s 11 districts had to have a designated COVID-19 hospital. MEC Simelane-Zulu stated, “COVID was bad for us when it started. But it also gave us an opportunity to improve our facilities. I’m very excited to be here today, because when I compare what I saw when I first came to the facility, there’s a huge difference.”
Moreover, she enthuses the Utrecht community now has a grade-A hospital boasting proper isolation and ICU beds. MEC Simelane-Zulu adds, “Even the patients are happy to come to this facility, and the clinicians here are quite happy to be working in an environment that looks like this.”
After the pandemic passes, she assures the Government will ensure the hospital’s former services are returned.
Some of the services had been suspended due to the dilapidated infrastructure, which was falling apart as a result of an inability to manage the necessary set-up accordingly. MEC Simelane-Zulu has, meanwhile, described KwaZulu-Natal’s growing COVID-19 cases as a cause for concern. As of Wednesday, 9 December 2020, there are 7 006 confirmed cases in the Amajuba District. Out of this figure, there have been 6 742 recoveries and 237 deaths.
Suppose the people of KwaZulu-Natal do not change their attitudes. In that case, the province is at risk of being slapped with harsh new COVID-19 restrictions which are similar or more stringent than those imposed in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
The MEC warns, “Please adhere to COVID-19 regulations, or risk being hit with stricter regulations like Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.”
As the facility now prepares to offer medical relief during the pandemic, Japie Greyling, the Hospital General Manager of Mediclinic Newcastle, says he thinks it is a wonderful initiative, especially with the second surge of the pandemic rearing its head in the Western Cape. He adds, “We are usually two to three weeks behind, which means we should see a surge around Christmas time, so it is great having the facility.”
As a hospital which prides itself on professionalism, Greyling says Mediclinic Newcastle is making the necessary arrangements for in case of a second wave. This is to ensure the community can rest assured that Mediclinic Newcastle is there for them.
With Utrecht, a mere stone’s throw away from Newcastle, what are your thoughts on the facility?
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