A two-year-old girl was allegedly raped while in a Coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation ward at a hospital in South Africa.
The child was sexually abused while in isolation at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria, it has been claimed.
The allegations are being investigated by the police and by the hospital.
The toddler’s aunt, who remains anonymous to protect the identity of the child, said that the girl was admitted to the hospital after developing symptoms of COVID-19.
The victim’s mother was informed by the hospital that she needed to be placed in an isolation ward.
The mother went home but was contacted that evening and told the child was crying and appeared to be in pain.
“The mother and child were referred to the George Mukhari Hospital by the KT Motubatse clinic in Soshanguve on 15 June,” the aunt said.
“The nurses at the clinic said since the child was struggling to breathe, she should be taken to George Mukhari Hospital to be tested for COVID-19.
“The hospital called in the evening and told the mother that the child was crying and in pain. They later called around 11 pm and said the child was now sleeping. The hospital staff called again in the morning and told my sister to come and pick up her child because she had been discharged. The hospital said the child had tested negative for COVID-19.”
The aunt said that after the child had been picked up from the hospital, she appeared to be struggling to walk.
“I saw that there was something wrong with the child. As the mother was changing the nappy, she discovered some white fluid on her private parts.
“She initially thought it was medication as the child had been in hospital. But the following day, that same whitish fluid was still coming out,” the aunt told local media.
When the mother closely inspected her child she could see that there had been ‘penetration’, according to the aunt.
The girl was taken back to the hospital where a nurse said there was an indication that the child had been raped.
Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters told News24 that a rape case has been opened.
The hospital is also conducting its own investigation into the incident.