The IFP calls on the KZN MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, to present a detailed plan on the measures that are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among healthcare workers in public hospitals. This, as the pandemic has begun to sweep through KZN’s medical ranks, with anxiety growing among normally dispassionate medical professionals.
The KZN Department of Health has reported that at Addington Hospital, a total of 38 staff members have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of December 2020. This includes five doctors, 11 nursing staff, one allied worker and 21 support staff members. Also, at RK Khan Hospital, a total of 23 staff members have tested positive, including seven nurses, 10 doctors, two radiologists, three clerks and one general orderly.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The risk to our healthcare workers is one of the great vulnerabilities of our healthcare system during an epidemic like this. It is critical to minimise the number of people who get seriously ill at the same time. If too many people get sick at once, it puts too great a burden on our healthcare system.
It is incumbent upon the KZN MEC of Health to tell the public of the plans that are in place to prevent the spread of virus among healthcare workers in public hospitals. Our medical staff must know and feel that their health is also a priority. Having dozens of nurses exposed to the virus is an expected yet worrisome development, particularly as the KZN health system prepares for an anticipated surge in infections.
A thorough investigation into why so many frontline healthcare workers contracted the virus is needed. Did they receive adequate PPE? The IFP believes that all healthcare workers and patients – irrespective of whether they are in government hospitals or private hospitals – must be provided with adequate PPE.
Failure to protect our healthcare workers is tantamount to attempted murder. Hospital Management who fail to take the necessary precautions and abide by the health protocols required to protect workers, must be held accountable.
Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana, MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Health
078 302 3991