he Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Eastern Cape is noting with great concern the fast rising of people testing positive for the Coronavirus and the increasing poor management of this pandemic by the provincial Department of Health.
As we appreciate the accelerated mass testing of the virus in the province, DENOSA remains sceptical about the capacity and ability of our provincial health system to deal with the outbreak. This is despite the fact that the department has assured the people of Eastern Cape that the province is ready for the pandemic.
The red flags are showing that the province is not and it has never been ready for the outbreak. And nurses are on the receiving end of the unpreparedness of the department. The province announced to national the hospitals that were identified to deal with Covid-19 cases. However, we have seen sharp increase in inclusion of hospitals in the list which are not equipped to deal with Coronavirus being forced to accommodate the patients. This is causing panic and despair in the healthcare personnel. The staff is not given necessary knowledge, training and equipment.
We have received a number of complaints from our members in the hotspot areas in the province that the nurses are intimidated and threatened with disciplinary action if they refuse to take care of the Covid-19 patients. We have informed our members that no nurse must handle Covid-19 patients if they are not provided with PPE. Nurses must not be used as sacrificial lambs during this period of Coronavirus. Our nurses are well-trained to deal with burden of diseases but they need equipment to do their job effectively and protect themselves from contamination. DENOSA Eastern Cape wants to reiterate that call of ‘No PPE, No Work!’
The department is turning hospitals into isolation institutions which is exposing the in-hospital patients and healthcare personnel to the contagious virus. It is our strong view that the suspected cases must not be kept in hospitals, because the hospitals are for sick people. The province announced that it prepared isolation institutions around the province in the event of the outbreak. However, the spokesperson for the Health MEC, Judy Ngoloyi, stated: “A decision has been taken that all public hospitals are to admit clients infected with COVID-19. Only those that are critical patients will be referred to regional hospitals”. This unilateral decision by the department is ill-advised and reckless to say the least.
This again is exposing the lack of insight and less interest in welfare of healthcare personnel by those who are leading and managing the department, hence our health system was in shambles even before the arrival of Coronavirus.
DENOSA is calling for the provincial government to open those institutions to the public for isolation and leave the hospitals for the sick people before the virus terrorise our healthcare institutions.
This is a ticking time bomb that may see patients and healthcare personnel infected in an unprecedented rate and cause thousands of unnecessary illnesses and deaths that could have been prevented if proper leadership and management was provided.
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