This regional report will be updated each time fresh information is
available. It is published on the website in imperfect form because people need
Preliminary Research for Children of Fire by Platinum Projects.
Tonga Hospital is in the area Tonga, about 60 kilometres south of
Komatipoort, Mpumalanga. It is a brand new hospital which was built five years
ago but only two units (emergency/clinic and maternity) had opened two months
ago - due it seems, to a lack of organisation. They cannot treat any burn
victims and refer them to Shongwe Hospital in Shongwe.
Tonga Hospital is still awaiting a surgical doctor. Shongwe Hospital is
approx. 50 km south west from Tonga and the roads are very bad. The roads are
partly dirt roads, partly tar roads with huge pot holes and as usual in a rural
area, there are lots of animals - goats, sheep, etc. and children crossing the
roads all the time. There is also no appropriate signage to Shongwe Hospital -
if you don't know the area, you will get lost.
I asked them why Tonga send people to Shongwe if they don't have the
facilities - they don't know! Shongwe Hospital is an old hospital, but they
have recently built new units. They do not have the facilities to treat burn
victims. According to the matron, patients with 50 per cent or more burns
normally die. She is very concerned about the lack of facilities, because they
have a lot of burn victims due to shack fires, boiling water and sugar cane
plantations. They do have an open ward where a burn unit can be established.
There is also no means of putting out fires in the whole area. If a house /
shack burns, it burns to the ground without anything means of stopping it.
The nearest hospitals to Tonga and Shongwe is Temba Hospital in
Whiteriver and Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit. The nearest fire brigade is
also Nelspruit - approx. 100 kilometres away.
Matron Sarah Gumede (013) 780
P/ Bag X301, Shongwe Mission 1331
V.A. Mogiba or BF Khasibe (ext. 2168) or Matron Flora (013) 781 0219
We also saw a vehicle with "Department of Health and Welfare -
Mpumalanga" - on the doors and we stopped them. The information we got from the
not so friendly staff is as follows: Mrs. FJ Malaza, District Manager (013) 790
8069 Mangweni District Office, P.O. Box 817, Kwalugedlane 1341
The developer of the new Kamakwaqueza shopping centre in Nkomazi (near
Tonga and Shongwe) wants to donate money to the community via the selling of
meal tickets to the community during the launch. A plate with "pap" and meat
and a cold drink will cost R5 each. He is prepared to donate all the money
raised in this way to assist in the development of a burn unit at the Shongwe
Hospital. The shopping centre launch will take place during the last week-end
Shongwe Hospital burn statistics from January to June 2000
They had 70 inpatients: Of these, 22 were children between the ages of 0
- 4 years, 17 were children between the ages of 5 - 14 years and the remaining
41 were between the ages of 15 years and upward. Of the adults, 17 were female
of which one died and 14 males of which 3 died.
They had 30 outpatients. The main causes of burns for adults were open
fires and for the children it was hot porridge, hot tea and boiling water.