DENOSA Gauteng believes emergency preparedness should improve to make healthcare services more responsive.

JOHANNESBURG – As yesterday’s underground gas line explosion in Bree Street in Johannesburg has become the latest disaster to hit Gauteng, which has claimed the life of a person and saw 48 citizens needing hospitalization at Charlotte Maxeke and Hellen Josephs hospitals in the city centre, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Gauteng is urging the Gauteng government to improve emergency preparedness as the province has become prone to many emergencies recently.

Because there is still uncertainty on what the cause of the explosion was, this means that emergency service centres in the Johannesburg area should be on standby in case a second episode is experienced.

Emergencies like this one tend to also affect the operations in the healthcare sector negatively due to chronic staff shortages in critical areas, which highlights the need to beef up staffing in the emergency service areas within the province.

While the number of casualties did rise anywhere near the numbers of the recent cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal in the Tshwane District, DENOSA believes contingency measures in healthcare services should be put in place as a norm and standard so that service centres like clinics and hospitals do not buckle under pressure when emergencies hit unaware.

As far as nursing service is concerned, DENOSA has been expressing concern over the urgent need for emergency- and trauma-trained nurses for many healthcare facilities in the country as these two areas of nursing specialization come in very handy in emergency situations. Emergency areas in many facilities become chaotic on weekends due, mainly, to injuries sustained in accidents and alcohol-related fights and shootings.

Due to the shortage of Emergency Nurses, there is great potential that many patients could be lost if they are not attended to by adequately skilled nurses. This is so because constant overcrowding in many facilities means that quick reallocation of needed skills for Bree Street-like emergencies becomes impossible.

DENOSA believes, due to the high rate of emergencies experienced in Gauteng, the province needs to be one to take a cue from and practicalize the recommendations from the Presidential Health Summit, especially the 10th pillar which talks to Pandemic Preparedness, which talks to emergencies.

DENOSA pays homage to the healthcare workers and nurses who intervened and managed the casualties of the incident at both Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital and Hellen Josephs Hospital respectively. It is pleasing that the admission rate has since deescalated from 48 to 12 patients.

But the explosion could have turned out worst had the fire managed to trigger what was clearly a dangerous situation. Had the worst happened, the healthcare services would not have coped and that would have had a disastrous effect on the recovery rate of patients.


Issued by DENOSA in Gauteng.

For more information, contact:

Bongani Mazibuko, Provincial Secretary.

Mobile: 072 620 8806

Simphiwe Gada, Provincial Chairperson.

Mobile: 072 563 1923