Wits Faculty of Health Science students remain at other regional hospitals after partial reopening. 

Wits Medical students will not be returning to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) any time soon, according to feedback given at a meeting held with the directors of the Unit for Undergraduate Medical Education (UUME) on July 5, 2021.

The meeting was held with the Medical Students’ Council (MSC) to discuss plans for medical students. Fourth-year online examinations and assessment results were some of the other urgent items on the agenda.

“Only certain sections of the building remain open, not all departments and schools can begin operations until the investigation to determine the structural integrity of the building is established,” said MSC student affairs officer Dumisa Ntakana.

CMJAH reopened its radiation oncology unit on June 28, 2021, but no further communication has been shared about the next phase since. A fire in April 2021 at the hospital, was responsible for its closure and suspended services, as reported by Wits Vuvuzela.

Since the hospital closed, patients were redirected to other regional hospitals such as Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Helen Joseph Hospital and others. CMJAH’s closure has not only placed pressure on healthcare workers, but also posed clinical risks for patients, and for the province amid the third wave of the covid-19 pandemic.

It is still unknown when the approximately 1 000 bed facility will be fully operational. “Covid-19 is the biggest driver to reopen [CMJAH] because in the first and second wave it was the central hospital in the province,” said Ntakana.

Professor Daynia Ballot, Head of Clinical Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand, told eNCA on June 28, that the CMJAH also faces a shortage of healthcare workers, especially nurses. A staff shortage is an additional pressure point that will need to be faced when the hospital is fully operational.

FEATURED IMAGE: Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. Photo: File