All systems go for the construction of a new R544million Mtubatuba ‘mini hospital’

KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane at the sod-turning ceremony of the Mtubatuba Community Health Centre. Picture: Supplied

KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane at the sod-turning ceremony of the Mtubatuba Community Health Centre. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 20, 2024


The days of ambulances having to make a U-turn after being blocked by elephants on the road while trying to get patients to emergency hospital care will soon be over for the community of Mtubatuba, thanks to a brand-new Community Health Centre (CHC) that will be built in the area.

A sod-turning ceremony on Friday marked the official start of the construction of Mtubatuba Community Health Centre (CHC).

The Department of Health said it would be completed in the next three years.

There was much ululation and applause among the throngs of local people who attended the sod-turning ceremony.

The facility is regarded as a boon for the local community, as it will not only save lives, but also create at least 200 jobs during the construction phase.

Once operational, it will be staffed by at least 340 healthcare workers from the various categories.

The facility will also have a 7-bed “Mothers’ Lodge” for those awaiting childbirth, as well as 6 beds for mothers who have given birth.

Known as a “mini-hospital”, CHC is the second step in the provision of health care after a clinic, but can also be used for first-contact care.

It has a 24-hour maternity service, emergency care and casualty, and a short-stay ward. It can refer patients to a District hospital when necessary.

Speaking inside a tent with more than 3500 people in the Mtubatuba town centre, KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane said access to quality healthcare was a human right, and that people in rural areas were as entitled to it as their counterparts in urban areas.

She said construction of the CHC was yet another display of an ANC-led government that listens and responds to people’s pleas.

The request for the CHC was initially made by former Mtubatuba mayor, Mr Verus Ncamphalala a few years ago, but got delayed by various political and administrative challenges - until no

The MEC said the appointed contractor had already been instructed to ensure that the local community receives priority during recruitment of people who will work during the construction of the facility. But she emphasised that recruitment for professional posts would be open to everyone.

“The former mayor informed us that when the people of Mtubatuba need a hospital, they must either travel to Hlabisa Hospital, which is located 40km away; or go to Ngwelezane Hospital, which is almost 60 km away. We were also told that, when our patients are being transported to Hlabisa Hospital, our ambulances must drive through the local game farm and sometimes, they even come across elephants and other animals blocking the road. When that happens, they are forced to turn around and use an alternative route”. said MEC Simelane.

Inkosi of the Mpukunyoni clan of Mtubatuba Mr Ntokozo Mkhwanazi thanked the Government of KwaZulu-Natal for responding to seeing to the materialisation of the clinic, saying it would save many lives by reducing travel time for those who seek emergency care. He also pleaded with the Government to build a Tertiary Vocational Education and Training Centre (TVET) for the local community, to stop the flight of young people to towns far from home in pursuit of self-development.

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