15th Aug 2020 6:43:11 AM

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Tonga & Shongwe
Dora Ngiza Hospital
Port Elizabeth
Children of Fire Regional Report Tonga & Shongwe

This regional report will be updated each time fresh information is available. It is published on the website in imperfect form because people need information now.

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.

Contact numbers:
Tonga Hospital:
Matron Sarah Gumede (013) 780 0222
Shongwe Hospital:
P/ Bag X301, Shongwe Mission 1331
Matron 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 in October.

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.

This material is Copyright The Dorah Mokoena Charitable Trust and/or Children of Fire , 1998-2020.
Distribution or re-transmission of this material, excluding the Schools' Guide, is expressly forbidden without prior permission of the Trust.
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