South African Medical Association


03 May2023

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) is a professional association for public and private sector medical practitioners, existing to serve the best interests and needs of its members and patients in any and all healthcare-related matters.

SAMA is aware of the essential food shortage that has recently been reported in the media at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH). The Association is deeply concerned about the impact of the food shortages on the health and recovery of patients. SAMA applauds the medical doctors and health professionals at CHBAH who, despite being severely understaffed, have displayed great compassion towards patients by assisting with some nutritional needs to help promote recovery.

The recent shortage is allegedly due to a disruption in the supply chain process and the Association urges the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) to take immediate steps to mitigate the issue and resolve it once and for all.  A shortage of perishable supplies in a hospital can be a serious issue, as patients need proper nutrition to aid in their recovery. Furthermore, the lack of nutrition hinders the ability of patients to recover within an expected time period, translating into CHBAH having to turn incoming patients away due to beds being occupied for longer periods.

Hospital staff, who are required to provide the best in patient care, should not be expected to perform their duties under these persistent distressing conditions. SAMAbelieves that poor administration lies at the core, and if the situation continues unabated it willresult in indigent patients who greatly depend on CHBAHforhealthcare,being disadvantagedeven furtherthan what theycurrentlyare.

Decisive and swift action is needed to ensure that hospital management and the GDoH deliver on their mandate, and that the essential food supplies are restored at Gauteng’s largest hospital facility.

SAMA condemns the ongoing food crisis at CHBAH and recommends that steps be taken to assist CHBAH patients. SAMA also recommends that an audit and projection of food supplies at all the hospitals in the province be made, so that steps towards food security in the hospitals can be taken and food resources moved to CHBAH.

¹CHBAH is the third largest hospital in the world, with approximately 3'200 patient beds and more than 6'700 staff members. Circa 70% of all admissions are emergencies, accounting for over 350 daily patients. Annually, roughly 150'000 inpatient and 500'000 outpatient cases are registered.


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