The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) says it feels disappointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Tuesday regarding government’s response to the increase of coronavirus infections in the country.
Denosa says it had hoped the President would announce stricter regulations to curb the spread of the virus.
Denosa’s acting general-secretary, Cassim Lekhoathi, says nurses are overwhelmed by the workload in hospitals because of the increased number of COVID-19 patients, and that more nurses are dying from the virus.
“Patients are increasing and the number of staff are decreasing because there is no replacement as we bury, like this weekend I am going to bury three of our nurses, they are not going to be replaced. And I am not just talking about those that I am going to bury this weekend, I am talking about those who are already infected who are in isolation, and the few that have to remain behind in the wards, they have to carry on with the load.”
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa said there is light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel with fewer healthcare workers getting the disease at this stage of the third wave when compared to the second wave, mainly because of the vaccination of workers.
Ramaphosa was speaking on Tuesday night during an address to the nation where he announced level three of the lockdown.
Ramaphosa said 64 healthcare workers had tested positive for coronavirus in the last seven-day period and this is substantially less than during a similar period of the second wave.
South Africa moves to lockdown alert level 3:
Nursing unions have called on government to provide them with counselling facilities.
Unions are reported to have said the second wave had a devastating effect on healthcare workers and many had to resign as a result of the trauma of dealing with a high number of deaths.
A total of 339 healthcare workers died of COVID-19 related illness in South Africa between March and November last year, with most deaths occurring in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Rich Sicina is a nurse and general secretary of the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union: