The Khayelitsha District Hospital’s Emergency Unit got a substantial boost in providing quality medical care to trauma patients this week, after taking receipt of a brand new ventilator machine. The device which helps both adult and neo-natal patients to breathe at times of trauma; costs nearly a half a million rands and was sponsored by Islamic Relief South Africa (IRSA).
About 3600 trauma patients come through the hospital’s doors a month and as a result there is a considerable strain on its resources including the equipment to offer the best quality medical treatment to patients who can least afford it.
The hospital is at the epi-centre of a catchment that serves nearly 2.5 million South Africans where unemployment stands at around 73% with at least 70% of the population living in shacks (informal dwellings). Here doctors, nurses and staff serve on of the biggest and poorest informal settlements in the country often without the basics they need to save lives.
This machine forms part of a critical, larger wish list from the Hospital Board to solicit help from the public because government funding is lacking. At the handover, Trevor Pols, the Funding Director for the Khayelitsha Hospital explains: “Khayelitsha Hospital provides health services to a major portion of the Western Capes population. They have an extremely busy emergency and resuscitation unit seeing to over 3000 patients per month, with some of the patients needing lifesaving medical treatment. It is for this reason that the Ventilator was on the top of our equipment priority list. Thanks to the wonderful partnership with Islamic Relief SA, we were able to purchase this lifesaving piece of equipment which will be put straight into use to assist patients with breathing.”
The 300 bed government district hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and sees to a comprehensive list of health care services which include HIV, TB, Maternity and Trauma and the Unit provides care to patients with a wide range of emergencies including those of a surgical, medical, paediatric, psychiatric and gynaecological nature. 50% of these patients are either code red or orange and require urgent lifesaving intervention and resuscitation with over 60% of them coming in for stab wounds and a further 10% for gunshot wounds.
“In the few minutes we were there, four people had just been admitted for gun shot wounds and stabbings. So while it was incredible tense and painful to watch – we also saw the machine being used and I know that means a lot to the donors,” says Nazreen Inglis, IRSA programmes officer.
The emergency centre performs over 100 full code resuscitations per month. Should there be an emergency in the area, there is a high chance that the injured person will be brought to Khayelitsha Hospital to be stabilised and treated. Islamic Relief was approached by the SA Medical and Education Foundation to assist.
Rezaa Kasu, Head of Communications at IRSA has the final word: “We are incredibly grateful to our partners and donors for making this happen. We saw first hand how medical professionals are doing all they can under trying circumstances so it was humbling and gratifying to see our contribution in action. But this is only the start, I urge businesses and individuals alike to partner with us to help those less fortunate benefit from something as basic as medical treatment – and the opportunity to heal not only the sick but society as well.”