Murchison Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal’s Ugu district continues to operate in breach of a national health protocol under conditions made hazardous to patients and medical personnel by a chronic water crisis, according to sources at the hospital. The water crisis, which began four years ago, has rendered the hospital inoperable for much of the time, although it has stayed open. Piped municipal water to the hospital has been available for about half the time over the period. The crisis has affected the entire Ugu district, at times leaving the population of about 1-million people without piped water for weeks on end. Doctors say the conditions at the hospital, which is intended to serve about 250,000 people, are likely to cause cross-infections between patients, with medical staff as intermediary vectors. Staff cannot wash their hands before and after treating patients, while toilets have become permanently blocked. Used toilet paper is deposited in dry bins. Staff fetch buckets of water...

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