Unions lament protective gear for health workers

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The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) has reiterated the call for more resources and protective equipment to be sent to public hospitals and clinics.

Denosa has urged government to particularly provide resources the rural areas to assist health practitioners who may come into direct contact with patients infected with the coronavirus.

The number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in South Africa with 1353 infections confirmed and five deaths.

Denosa President Simon Hlungwani says there is a shortage of test kits available at hospitals and clinics.

Hlungwani says, “In most clinics and rural hospitals there isn’t adequate protective clothing and in this regard we have said to our members that if there are no PPEs, you should not risk your life because it is equal to committing suicide…”

“If you get infected you are going to infect your fellow colleagues, family and anyone you are in contact with. We are also aware that there is a shortage of testing mechanisms or test kits in rural areas, the testing is only done in the big hospitals and not in the small hospitals,” added Hlungwani.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) joined the call for more equipment to be sent to hospitals and clinics

It says its members are facing a difficult situation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The union says their employees in the medical field are being required to work without adequate supply of resources and protective equipment.

Nehawu General-Secretary Zola Saphetha has called on government to assist.

Saphetha says, “Our members are caught between a rock and a hard place, complying means death and complaining means dismissal. So we have members and health workers who don’t have a choice – the choice that they make must be a balance between their survival and feeding their families…”

“We can’t just be wreckless and say tools down because we will be killing the nation post this virus. But unfortunately the kind of government that we have is not the government that finds it easy to comply or act as a custodian for the same law that they put in place,” added Saphetha.

Mass flu vaccination campaign roll out

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku says the provincial government will be rolling out a mass flu vaccination campaign targeted at the elderly and health workers.

Masuku says the elderly will receive flu vaccinations at Sassa pay points from Monday. “We are going to be in the next three days having Sassa payouts particularly for the elderly . We have already vaccinated all the people who work in our OP centre and also all our community healthcare workers who have been trained as tracers.”

“On Monday we are going to also roll out vaccinations for the elderly for flu because its important that we vaccinate those who are the most vulnerable in society.”

Masuku says provincial government is ramping up testing and will set up more testing facilities in the province, particularly in high density areas.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions by SABC Digital News