A five year old child died in the casualty ward in Bethlehem, while nurses tried to find any available bed for her.
The incident, at Phekoleng Hospital in Bethlehem, highlights that South African Health care in still in a crisis.
Boitumeo Mokoena (5) was knocked down by a car and rushed to the hospital by a concerned school driver. The child was unconscious with a nose bleed and died while nurses tried to find any bed.
A recent report by Katharine Hall, senior researcher at the Children’s Institute (CI), who launched the South African Child Gauge 2012, detailed the inequality that South African children in South Africa still have to deal with on a daily basis.
South Africa has some of the highest level of inequality in the world. This is evident in the fact that the poorest 10 percent of people in the country receive less than one percent of the national income, while the richest 10 percent receive more than half (57 percent).
The Child Gauge reports that many children suffer as a result of this inequality and children in the poorest 20 percent of the population face the greatest challenges. Some of the key findings of the report are:
– 67 % of children lived in rural areas, and 37 % didn’t have adequate housing. 31 % live in overcrowded households.
– 54 % of children don’t have adequate access to water, and 46 % live in conditions with inadequate sanitation. 23 % of children have no access to electricity.
– 21 % of children have to travel far to get to school and 46 % experienced delayed progress at school.
– 26 % of children experience hunger and 87 out of every 1 000 children die at birth.
The report also found that racial disparities persist – two-thirds (67 %) of African children live below the poverty line, compared to only two percent of White children.
Children living in former homelands remain the most deprived and nearly half of them lived where there is limited access to services and economic opportunities.
In Boitumeo’s case she was deprived of her young life as there were no medical facilities or care available to help her.