The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in the Eastern Cape feels vindicated by what Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has discovered in the province. The article ran by two provincial newspapers, Daily Dispatch and The Herald, exposed how the Minister was FURIOUS about unpreparedness of the province to deal with Coronavirus.
The meeting between the provincial department of health and the Minister in Nelson Mandela Bay exposed inconsistency in numbers of Covid-19 cases in such that the Minister concluded that “Eastern Cape Covid-19 figures don’t add up”. But what also came out strongly in the meeting as reported by the two newspapers is that “the department is hopelessly ill-prepared to deal with the virus”. Among the challenges raised in the meeting are that hospitals are full, there is dire shortage of staff and an urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for health staff. There is no staff to man the quarantine sites. There is lack of testing kits. There is lack of motivation from staff, who feel scared to go out themselves.
DENOSA Eastern Cape released a media statement on the 20th of April on the Eastern Cape’s rising COVID-19 cases. In the statement, DENOSA was questioning the preparedness of the province in handling the rapidly increasing numbers of people testing positive for Coronavirus. The concern of DENOSA is on healthcare institutions, staff and the protective equipment. The department has been adamant that it is ready for the virus although there was nothing showing to prove its claim. The department failed dismally yesterday to convince Minister that they are ready.
It was reported as well that “the province has been very slow in coming forward and doing things – there doesn’t appear to be much interest from the health administration”. These are common reports DENOSA is receiving from the districts and health institutions that there is no support from provincial head office (Bhisho).
DENOSA is welcoming the intervention made by the Minister of calling 10 epidemiologists to assist the province in dealing with the pandemic. We welcome the commitment by Minister that PPEs will be supplied to the province as soon as possible so that healthcare personnel can work comfortably without fear of contracting the virus.
“We are calling for the provincial department to wake up and smell the coffee – the people and nurses of Eastern Cape need decisive leadership and effective management. The lies, cover-ups, denialism and hypocrisy have been exposed and we need to move forward now. DENOSA is demanding that the isolation institutions must be ready because the worst is still coming. The promised 3000 healthcare personnel must be employed without further delay.
We hope and trust that the Department will involve organized labour in their plans and activities in moving forward in fighting COVID-19.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Eastern Cape
For more information, contact
Khaya Sodidi, Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 082 775 7734/072 573 3315
Land Line: 041 484 7323/4