Operational cost of the obstetrics unit of the Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital

Mokatsane, Polaki Ephraim
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BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged the importance of maternal care and listed it as part of its Millennium Development goals (WHO, 2002). The Maternity unit of the Job Shimankana Tabane (JST) Hospital, situated in the Rustenburg city (regarded as the fastest growing city within South Africa) is burdened with increasing number of patients for the last few years with resultant increased resource utilisation. However, there is no systematic study done to describe this situation. The above mentioned scenario necessitates this study to assess the operational cost of the Obstetrics Unit in relation to caseload, profile of patients, and resource utilization. AIM: To determine the operational costs within the Obstetrics Unit of the JST Hospital in terms of caseload, profile of patients, and resource utilization METHODOLOGY: Cross sectional study design was used for this study. Retrospective record review was done and information extracted from various sources of hospital information system. No primary data was collected for this study. Setting of this study was the Obstetrics unit at Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital situated within Rustenburg city of Bojanala District in North West Province. Data was collected on various variables that are relevant to the function of women health services and resource utilization in Obstetrics unit of this Hospital. Results: Obstetric unit of Job Shimankana hospital experienced high caseload due to patient bypassing primary health care service points including district hospitals with highest number being seen afterhours; and due to inappropriate referrals from clinics. Analysis of profile of these patients showed 93% being Africans, 90% unemployed; and 70% being single. Hospital obstetric unit operational costs amount to just over R1.3 million with 57% accounted for by goods and services and human resource accounting for the remaining 43%. The average was R7, 717.75, which is very high. Conclusion: The operational cost of this obstetric unit was found to be very high and quality may have been compromised due to increased caseload, leading to low length of stay.