Families are demanding answers after two babies died at an unlicensed crèche in Southernwood, East London, South Africa, on the same day and within hours of each other.
The toddlers, Ezam Makhabane, five months, and Kwahlelwa Ndongeni, six months, died under strange circumstances after being in the care of the crèche and transported to hospital last Tuesday, according to a TimesLive article published on Thursday, September 9.
Dr. Rolene Wagner, the provincial health department’s director, said the babies were declared dead when they arrived at Frere Hospital.
The babies perished at the crèche, according to the relatives. There were no ambulances dispatched, and the proprietor of the crèche did not contact the parents to alert them of the situation.
It is not clear what condition the infants were in when they were taken to Frere Hospital, one by a taxi, and the second by the same taxi which was recalled by the owner for the delivery of a second child to the hospital.
When contacted for comment, the owner confirmed the “incidents” and that the crèche took care of 30 children. She would not comment on the registration status of the crèche or what had happened.
“This is a difficult time for us but I will tell you everything once I receive the autopsy reports from the police,” she said.
Ezam’s grieving father, Khanya Makhabane said: “This is painful because the woman [owner] is not telling us what happened before my baby was taken to hospital, and why she didn’t call an ambulance.
“She didn’t tell us that there was another child of almost the same age who died at almost the same time. We won’t rest until we get answers.”
His wife, Millie, said: “I’m devastated. I find it difficult to move on because on the day the babies died, the crèche was still open as if nothing had happened.
“The woman never bothered to call us about the news, instead, we were called by a doctor at the hospital. On arrival, the doctor told us the baby was already dead when she arrived at the hospital. He asked us if the child looked sick that morning and I said no, because she was in good spirits when we left her there.” she narrated.
The Ndongeni family buried their baby in Lusikisiki on Monday, September 6. Grandmother Ncediswa Mqikela said:
“We have many more questions than answers. This woman is not forthcoming with information. It is also concerning that, after the incidents, the crèche was still operational.”
Confirming the incident, police spokesperson, Brig Tembinkosi Kinana said the Makhabanes were called to the hospital at 4.30pm last Tuesday.
He said the crèche owner was also at the hospital at the time when the doctor reported the death to the parents.
“In a separate incident, it is alleged that the grandmother of the six-month-old [infant] received a call from her neighbour informing her that she must not go to the crèche as the child was in hospital,” Kinana said.
“She rushed to the hospital and on her arrival met a doctor who told her that the child had already passed away. When she asked the principal, she said the child was well from the morning session and there were no signs of sickness, but in the afternoon she noticed that the [child] was not moving. The child was rushed to the hospital and was later reported to have passed on.”