Healthcare workers at Port Elizabeth hospitals, in the Eastern Cape, fear for their lives as they fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Staff at some of the hospitals don’t have the basic equipment to protect themselves.
The already emotionally and physically drained workers say they were dealt another blow when they learned that one of the doctors, whom they were in contact with, had tested positive for the virus. The doctor is currently in isolation.
A medical doctor, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the situation is worrying.
“When I go to work, I do not fear only for my patients’ lives, but I fear for myself too. The fact that I directly put my loved ones at risk when I come home everyday. Before the novel virus reached our shores, I knew we were not prepared then, nor are we now. With even the basic lack of PPE’s (Personal Protective Equipment) such as face masks, gloves and hand sanitisers, how will we be provided with the more advanced gear such as the hazman suits that we are supposed to wear according to the guidelines stated by our own Health Department, when they have failed to provide that to us?” asks the doctor.
Provincial Health Superintendent-General Dr Thobile Mbengashe, says they’re aware of the workers’ concerns and will immediately implement changes.
“I’ve instructed all hospitals that every person who works in a hospital, whether with a patient or in laundry, garden or kitchen must actually be provided with a mask. Now, most workers that work in these areas already have masks, but now we just need to make sure that it’s a standard offer to everyone. The masks are important because they help them make sure that no one transmits the infections,” says Mbengashe.
In the video below, are important facts on coronavirus: