The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal welcomes the easing of nation lockdown to Alert Level 2 although there are persistent concerns in the facilities as nurses battle the pandemic.
The lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol is concerning because having less road accidents and emergencies cases meant that nurses were able to focus on the sick patients and not traumatic cases resulting from stabbings and fights that we were experiencing before.
“We must not forget that most of assaults and verbal abuse of our members were due to those visiting health facilities drunk and have injured themselves from fights or have been involved in car crashes,” says DENOSA KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Secretary, Mandla Shabangu.
“Our members have been abused by those who are accompanied by the drunkards and end up assaulting our nurses in our community healthcare centres. During COVID, how will this misbehaviour or attitude change?”
DENOSA have been talking to the Department of Health to do something about safety in the workplace, but very little has been done.
Secondly, as we are approaching Alert Level 2, our members are approaching it with fear and anger about the scares that they have endured through this pandemic. We are fully aware that the storm is not yet over in our province but our members are still enduring stigmatization for being infected by the virus.
Nurses are still forced after ten days of isolation to report back to work even if they have not fully recovered in the name of shortage, let alone being allocated in the same ward they got infected in.
Those who have been infected are not taken through psychological trauma counselling as a way to deal with what they and their families went through in those ten days of isolation.
There is no system in place to support nurses while in isolation. And before reporting back to work, they are just thrown in the department to continue working and deal with patients as if nothing has happened to them.
It is enough now. DENOSA in KZN is demanding that all health workers who are coming back from isolation be treated as follows to deal with psychological damage caused by the virus:
1. Be given a five-day counselling session within the facility and be treated as on-duty time before resuming their normal duties;
2. Be allocated to non-COVID areas during the first two weeks until they acclimatize to the workplace again;
3. We demand that in the COVID relief directed to human resource, a percentage of money be given to our healthcare workers who have been infected by the virus as a way of showing support to them not by a fake appreciation that is becoming a rhetoric that health workers are important whereas the treatment they are getting is the opposite of that.
As KZN, we will be approaching the Provincial Command Council to discuss the way forward in the management of COVID as the numbers are still increasing in our province so that there is a clear plan to prepare for the second wave.
Issued by DENOSA in KwaZulu-Natal
For more information, contact:
Mandla Shabangu, DENOSA provincial Secretary
Mobile: 071 643 3369
Tel: 031 305 1417