Sasol in Society

Sustainable healthcare access for communities

Dr Lerato Masooane-Tladi is a dedicated senior medical officer who has worked for eight years at the Fezi Ngubentombi District Hospital in Sasolburg.

Like the other doctors at the hospital, her duties are many and varied; one month she will work in casualty, the next in paediatrics but they all boil down to the same thing: saving lives and helping patients to recover.

Until recently, Dr Masooane-Tladi often worked in what passed for an operating theatre, performing surgery in conditions that were simply sub-standard. “The lighting in theatre was so bad that we literally used the torches on our cellphones,” the young doctor explains. “And it was so hot in there, often over 30°C, that the nurses were constantly mopping the faces of the doctors, we were sweating so much.”

Casualty, in particular, was cramped, crowded and posed a security threat to doctors and other staff. But things at Fezi Ngubentombi have recently changed a great deal as result of Sasol’s partnership with the district municipality.

In 2017 and 2018, in close collaboration with district and provincial health authorities, Sasol invested R15.5 million on critical upgrades to the hospital. Many of the improvements were immediate and striking: state-of-the-art operating theatres with world-class lighting, air-conditioning and equipment, a more spacious, more secure casualty area, a new trauma unit and an enlarged maternity ward. Other upgrades were not so obvious but just as important, for instance, repairing and sealing the hospital’s roof and paying for long-overdue electrical upgrades.

In a third upgrade phase, beginning in 2019, the Free State Department of Health will spend R9 million on Fezi Ngubentombi with Sasol matching this contribution. Improvements in the third phase will include overhauling the hospital’s entrance and admissions area, upgrading security, the kitchen and laundry facilities. The net result will be a dramatically improved district hospital, one that will meet the Department of Health’s “ideal” district status, that will improve the delivery of healthcare and, ultimately, save lives.

Free State MEC for health Ms Montseng Tsiu recently inspected the facilities:

In addition to Fezi Ngubentombi, Sasol recently built a brand new Sasolburg clinic, replacing the cramped, overcrowded and run-down clinic which used to be housed in the main local municipal building.

We upgraded three other clinics and the area’s major community health centre. As part of the more than R37 million committed to local healthcare, Sasol recently spent R3.1 million, with the Free State Department of Health and NGOs, on the Sasol HIV/Aids Support Programme. We also invested in four fully-equipped mobile clinics (two of them off-road vehicles), bringing potentially life-saving care, screening and medicines to those in remote areas.

Sasol and healthcare in the Fezile Dabi district – in numbers