The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto has just achieved something rather historic. For the first time ever, the trauma ward at one of the busiest facilities in Gauteng had no patients whatsoever on New Year’s Day. The Facebook account for the hospital shared a series of photos earlier, illustrating the eerie scene.
Why is the trauma ward empty at Chris Hani?
A combination of factors appears to have averted a crisis this year. As one of the drunkest nights on the calendar, New Year’s Eve and the early hours of New Year’s Day traditionally see the highest volumes of patients admitted to trauma wards across South Africa. But the ban on alcohol seems to have had a significant impact here.
By dropping down to Level 3, personal movement for South Africans is now at a premium. A 21:00 curfew and the closure of bars, taverns, & shebeens has limited the amount of trouble drinkers can get themselves into. With the City of Johannesburg introducing huge fines for people found breaking lockdown laws, compliance levels were pleasantly high.
Soweto hospital records ‘zero new trauma patients’ for NYE
SA has seen COVID-19 cases spiral out of control, and hospital capacity has been a major issue during this pandemic. Alcohol restrictions are usually introduced to help reduce pressure on ICU and trauma wards. But, due to Level 3 interventions, there are now plenty of empty beds in Soweto – and the hospital is beaming with its historic achievement
“Did you know… it’s the first time in history that the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital trauma rescue area has no patients on the first of the new year.”
Statement from the hospital via Facebook
- Meanwhile, Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi has shared his reaction to these developments:
Here’s proof that alcohol abusers are a burden to our health system. My sincere apologies to alcohol users but the state should continue to reduce the days for the sale of alcohol, reduce alcohol content as well as the size of the containers and make alcohol expensive https://t.co/V1wFhPqBRL
— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) January 1, 2021