The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) says the increased number of healthcare workers that are testing positive for the coronavirus in Gauteng has resulted in a higher workload for the remaining staff at health facilities in the province.
DENOSA on Friday reported that 450 nurses in Gauteng remain infected of whom 350 are members of the union.
On Thursday, Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuka announced that more than 900 public sector workers tested positive in the province.
“We need to find a way of slowing it down, we cannot have majority of the nurses as frontline workers getting infected. The workload is definitely increasing. I will give you an example, at PHC maternity ward, you need minimum three midwives, now when one tests positive, you left with two. You must get someone from another shift. I was told at one of the clinics, people were working day duty and knocked off at 9pm because there was no one to relieve them,” says Provincial Secretary of DENOSA in Gauteng, Bongani Mazibuko.
In the Eastern Cape alone, nearly 800 health workers from the public and private sector have tested positive for the coronavirus.
More than 20 of them have died. A loss the Maneli family in Alice, is still grappling with.
The wound is still fresh for Khanyile Maneli, who lost his wife of 36 years to COVID-19.
His wife, 58-year old Matilda, started working at Victoria Hospital in Alice soon after they tied the knot.
She was in charge of the hospital’s stores. Receiving and distributing linen and patient clothing was part of her job.
In this video below, the Health Department asks staff to be vigilant as many are still contracting COVID-19:
Maneli says he is yet to come to terms with his wife’s death.
“She was a very dedicated person. We could see even after work; she would always think about work that she hasn’t completed. You could get that even from her colleagues at work that she was really this type of a person who wants everything to be done properly and professionally.”
Matilda was a mother to two daughters, Nande and Natasha, who say she also reached out to impoverished communities.
“She wasn’t just my mother, she was everybody’s mother. People could come to her for the smallest things. They confided in her and she was that person who was always willing to give even if she was sick.”
The family has paid tribute to other workers who put their lives on the line to fight the pandemic.