Cockroach-infestation in newborn ward at Frere hospital stains record: DA

OCTOBER 5, 2016

An apparent infestation of cockroaches at Frere Hospital’s M1-N “Kangaroo Ward” for mothers awaiting the release of their premature and newborn babies is a stain on the good record of the facility, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said on Wednesday. 

"The DA truly values the sterling work performed by Dr Rolene Wagner and her team at the Frere Hospital and requests that Ward M1-N, and specifically the loose fittings in the ward, should be fumigated and inspected before any more infants and new moms are expected to share a neonatal ward room with cockroaches," said Celeste Barker, the DA's Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Health.

She said that last week Thursday, Bronwen Spenceley -- the young mom of a premature baby girl weighing just 1.5kg - was admitted to M1-N.  The ward, though appearing to be clean, has proven to be unhygienic and hazardous. 

"The ward, though appearing to be clean, has proven to be unhygienic and hazardous. 

"The bedside metal cabinets are crawling with cockroaches and when a heater is switched on, the insects come crawling out of all possible apertures – including the beds," described Barker.

"Bronwen was forced to move her mattress to the tea room and sleep on the floor the first night to avoid the cockroaches.  The following night she had her baby, Mia-Lee, with her, and woke up with a cockroach crawling on her left breast. 

"My colleague, BCM councillor Sue Bentley, did a walkthrough at Frere hospital on Friday evening and confirmed that while the overall impression was good, more evidence of a cockroach infestation was found."

Barker said that this situation is as disgraceful as it is unacceptable. 

"I have submitted legislature questions to the MEC for Health, Dr. Phumza Dyantyi, as to how this most unhealthy state of affairs arose in Ward MI-N, as well as the name of the departmental service provider responsible for fumigation, fumigation and payment schedules for Ward M1-N and safety data sheet , as well as a full description of contingency measures to keep mothers and babies safe and healthy in the ward," she said. 

"Evidence also shows the use of a blue powder substance instead of gel insecticide, which may too have a negative impact on the health of babies."

Images: There is an apparent infestation of cockroaches in a baby ward in the Frere Hospital in East London. Caption 1:  Cockroaches crawling in and over a bedside cabinet in the M1-N baby ward in Frere Hospital. Caption 2:  The wheel-casing of a bed in Ward M1-N in Frere Hospital, filled with dead cockroaches.