130-year-old National Hospital gets revamp

Maintenance staff cleaned up the floor after a blocked drain caused sewage to flood into the maternity ward last week.

A number of wards at the National District Hospital will receive a facelift as renovations are continuing at the medical facility. The Free State Department of Health began the refurbishment process as the hospital is turning 130 years this year. Aged pipes and electrical cables are replaced while roofing and walls are fixed.

There have been renovations done in several wards, including paediatrics and maternity, according to spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi. “The refurbishment work covers all the patient care areas, including the maternity ward, paediatric wards, casualty, as well as the outpatient department, while the gateway clinic will be renovated,” he said.
Last week Bloemfontein Courant received reports that the maternity ward had been flooded with sewage water. Floors across that section of the hospital were covered in murky water during the refurbishment process, while the smell of raw sewage caused staff and visitors to evacuate the building.

However, Mvambi expressed that the stream coming from a bathroom had been quickly mopped up. “The maintenance personnel were unblocking the drain pipes behind the maternity ward at National District Hospital when a backflow of sewage occurred in the bathroom and into the corridor. No patients were affected. The floor was immediately cleaned,” he said.

Readers of Courant were horrified about the incident. Some comments on Courant’s Facebook page included the following: “What is going on at National? This is not on,” and “The maternity section of all places, this is where everything has to be clean and sterile – it’s an absolute disgrace, people.”

Mvambi emphasised that no patient had been affected by the sewerage leak and asked for patience as renovations are to continue until 2020. “We are pleading with the community to please bear with us as the infrastructure is old and we are in the midst of a massive revitalisation plan and still rendering the services that the community desperately need,” elaborated Health MEC, Montseng Tsiu.

Further reconstruction done by the department includes kitchen and pharmacy facilities. “We received back the pharmacy and Ward 8 so far and we have started in Ward 6. We also had to rebuild the kitchen area which was gutted by fire,” explained Mvambi. “Renovations will ensure safety of occupancy at the hospital,” he concluded.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele