The maternity section of the Hospital Geral José Macamo, in Maputo City, is temporarily closed to make way for rehabilitation works, so that patients have better conditions in the delivery services.

The rehabilitation of the facilities – characterized by precariousness and filth – was long awaited. They were a threat to the health of patients as well as to that of visitors, the rooms and changing rooms being totally dilapidated.

In fact, the work is taking place at a time when images illustrating the state of degradation of the bathrooms of the maternity ward of HGJM are circulating on social networks. The images in question have created indignation in society, not realizing why the Government has allowed the situation to reach this extreme.

With the purpose of verifying the veracity of the facts and to have some positioning from the hospital management about the situation, the Citizen Observatory for Health (OCS) visited the place and verified that it was, in fact, the maternity bathrooms under discussion.

The clinical director of Hospital Geral José Macamo, Ermelinda Chamba, confirmed that the photos illustrated the changing rooms of the maternity ward of that hospital, having been made, probably, by a user who did not know that they were being rehabilitated.

“The images circulating on social networks are of the bathrooms referring to HGJM, yes. As you could notice, they are bathrooms that are not in use at the moment because we are in a process of rehabilitation of the hospital. This process began at the beginning of this month. The entire maternity sector, at the moment, is closed to comply with the rehabilitation that is going to take place”, the director said.

“Eventually, as we had not yet closed the area, some family member of the patients would have entered the bathrooms and taken the images that are circulating.”

Patients Transferred to Surgery Block

According to Chamba, while the block is under construction, all maternity patients will be moved to the surgery sector and the surgery patients will be transferred to the medicine block.

In the beginning, medicine patients will be evacuated to Mavalane General Hospital, where the entire medicine ward will now operate.

“That is, for the next few days, Hospital Geral José Macamo will not have these services until conditions are created for their resumption. There are already resources available for rehabilitation, not only of the section in question, but also of the entire Hospital Geral José Macamo.

Phased Rehabilitation

“In fact, it’s a big job that’s going to happen here. It was expected that the entire hospital would be closed down and we would all go and work in other places. But it was decided to deal with this issue in phases”, she said.

The clinical director explained that the contractors wanted the hospital to be completely closed, but as this is not possible “we opted to start the first phase with the maternity ward because we felt that this was the sector that most needed rehabilitation.”

In his turn, the administrator of the Hospital Geral José Macamo, Paulo Domingos, reinforcing the information about the rehabilitation of the building, recognized the need for the works, claiming that it has been a long time since the hospital was rehabilitated, from 2007 to 2010.

“It has been over 10 years since the hospital was rehabilitated and now, we have sectors that are already leaking. They need to be restored”, said the source, adding that “the tender for the refurbishment of this hospital was public tender launched between November and December last year. The work has been awarded to the Canol Construções company, which is already here preparing the space for the purpose.”

Sanitation in the Sanitary Units

Nevertheless, the rehabilitation of this hospital, the deplorable situation of the toilets in several health units is worrying. Most of the toilets are characterized by filth, creating reasons for patients to contract other diseases than those that brought them to hospital.

The OCS believes that decent toilets are a basic element for the functioning of a health unit, and cannot constitute a risk of contracting diseases. It is assumed that in the Health Unit, users go in search of treatment and not in search of other diseases, so it is not justifiable that we still have hospitals with filthy toilets and without availability of water.

In a survey carried out by the OCS in 2021 on the availability of water and accessibility of infrastructures in the Health Units, with the objective of contributing to the Public Planning process of the health sector, through the evaluation and presentation of the degree of satisfaction of the basic needs of users and other segments that are interested in the improvement of the sector and the National Health System, it was found that 50% of the health service providers, in general, consider the sanitation system in hospitals to be reasonable, but there are challenges that, in the medium term, can be overcome with trained human resources.

 Even so, of the 50%, 10% consider the sanitation system in hospitals in Mozambique to be very bad.

For a better understanding about the data of the survey in allusion, one can go to the following website:

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