Health Systems

“Why are Our Babies Dying and Being Born with Disabilities?”

CAPE TOWN, 27th AUGUST 2015: 1,000 mothers, pregnant women and activists marched to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament today demanding to know “why our babies are dying and being born with disabilities.” They are demanding urgent action to address the ongoing problems in accessing quality maternal and obstetric care services in the province.

In recent months the Treatment Action Campaign’s Western Cape office has been made aware of what appears to be serious problems in maternity and obstetrics units (MOUs) in the Western Cape provincial healthcare system. After a number of shocking cases were reported to TAC Western Cape, a public meeting was called in Khayelitsha where many women shared their stories. Given the seriousness and volume of cases reported, the TAC has been compelled to intervene.

“Many of our members are mothers who make use of the public healthcare system, and as such we have a particular interest in the health of mothers and their babies,” said TAC Western Cape Women’s Representative, and mother of one, Norute Nobola.

“Some of the horror stories shared with us include a mother not being made aware for three days that her child has died. Another is a case where delays likely led to a child being born with serious disabilities. This is unacceptable. Women must be treated with dignity and respect at all health facilities across the province. We demand an open investigation into the state of these services,” she said.

While it is hard to know the full extent of the problem, we believe that the number of cases and the nature of the cases warrants a serious and urgent investigation by the provincial department of health. For this reason our memorandum included a demand for an investigation as well as a number of interim measures that must be taken until an investigation can be completed.

For more information and to arrange interviews contact:

Mandla Majola (Provincial Coordinator) – 0766098818

Johnson Mesi (Provincial Media Liaison) – 0785299076

Lotti Rutter (Media Liaison) – 081 818 8493

The full memorandum of demands can be accessed here