DENOSA statement on the continuing state of paralysis in North West

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in North West would like to express itself on the continuing dire situation in North West as a consequence of maladministration which continues to have crippling effects on healthcare services for both patients and nurses in the province.

The situation has reached a point of no return for nurses who have been abused, exploited, neglected and deserted. The poor working conditions have seriously rendered the profession sub- standard service due to system failures aggravated by the corrupt government officials in the province.

Lack of accountability and selfishness have completely consumed the province which has now compromised health care services. Some of the major challenges are the following:

* Patients are exposed to non-conducive environment whereby beds are shared because of congestion.

* In terms of nutrition, patients are eating bread and mince-meat.

* There is no water in some of the sub districts which affects maternity patients severely.

* No medication supplies for chronic patients.

* Non functionality of backup generators when electricity goes off as an extreme measure according to national core standards which exposes patients’ lives to danger.

Nurses are salvaging the situation by using their cell-phones and torches to deliver babies in some of the provincial hospitals in the province.

The linen crisis is so prevalent that patients are utilizing their own linen and blankets from home and infection control measures are not observed. Non functionality of mortuary fridges whereby deceased families are not receiving proper care. Smelling mortuaries with bodies of more than 150 days in some district hospital has become the norm while mortuary attendants and nurses are supposed to wheel the deceased patients to such areas. This is total cruelty to humankind.

Government’s patients’ transports are so old and not roadworthy that nurses are supposed to escort patients in those transport including ambulances that are not fully equipped.

DENOSA strongly condemns these developments and wants to urge the ANC-led government, especially in the North West, that nurses will no longer tolerate such treatment and this is where it ends. They have compromised a lot because of the oath that they took but now they have been taken for a ride. They are human beings before they are nurses. They deserve better. As they celebrate nurses month with the theme: “Nurses: A Force for Change – Health is a Human Right”, nurses are also advocating for provision of adequate human and material resources to promote quality nursing care.

DENOSA is currently exploring all legal options to put a stop to this situation.

With the above issues, and many others, DENOSA fully understands and sympathise with the call by COSATU in North West for a total shut down of services in the province. The reality is that the situation has become untenable, and the harsh effects are still felt post- the decision by national government to place the provincial administration under Section 100(a).

DENOSA would like to warn national government about its failure to safeguard communities in possible times of service shut down, especially in the so-called essential service category because of its failure to sign the Minimum Service Level Agreement, which will stipulate the minimum staffing levels for this group of workers. This failure to sign the agreement simply means every workers can easily embark on a total shut down. That is how patients’ lives are exposed.

Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in North West

For more information, contact:

Motlalepule Ramafoko,
DENOSA Acting Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 071 643 7980