IFP warns Health Department not to ignore its workers

The IFP castigates the fashion in which the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health and MEC Nomagugu Simelane practice gatekeeping about the shambolic and dire situation of the Covid-19 pandemic infection rate amongst the healthcare workers in the Province. The IFP views this as carelessness and gambling with healthcare workers’ lives. We further advise the MEC to face reality and test all health workers in Covid-19 epicentres as a matter of urgency, before the situation gets out of hand. On top of that the Department of Health must provide its workers with accredited PPE.

The IFP has reliably learnt that the Durban Central and KwaMashu Emergency Services were grounded on Thursday night, due to the infection of some of its workers. It is alleged that one of the workers, while on duty, volunteered to test at King Edward and tested positive for Covid-19. The IFP has reliably learnt that these workers are not issued with WHO approved N95 masks, yet they are expected to transport patients with different illnesses.

The IFP has been reliably informed that numerous senior staff members at iNkosi Albert Hospital have been admitted after testing positive for Covid-19, hence the temporary closure of the staff clinic, transport department and renal support. The workers allege that they are silenced by the hospital manager when questioning the testing procedure amongst the workers and the availability of PPE. They claim to work under constant fear of losing their jobs, as they are threatened by the CEO and hospital manager. It is alleged that if one worker has tested positive for Covid-19, his peers are not immediately tested, posing the danger of infecting more staff.

We call upon MEC Nomagugu Simelane to introduce a clear programme where she will test all health workers, especially those in the Covid-19 hotspots, in the eThekwini and Ilembe districts. We cannot afford to gamble with the lives of our foot soldiers.

Hon Thokozile Gumede
IFP Spokesperson on Human Settlements and Health
Contact number: 083 583 8585