File Picture: Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African news Agency (ANA)
File Picture: Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African news Agency (ANA)

Health committee highlights KZN’s critical issues

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Jan 19, 2021

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Durban - PROVINCIAL Portfolio Committee on Health chairperson Nomakiki Majola spoke to the Daily News about some of the critical issues they have been following that came out in the media which they felt were not good for public consumption.

Majola said their responsibility was to oversee what was being done by the Health Department based on their planning and budget that they appropriated for them.

She said in their oversight, they deal with critical issues that would lower the esteem of our communities. The reason they were doing that was that the pandemic did not give them a chance to take campaigns in person, everything is said in the media.

“Don’t forget that the budget that is being used, is the same budget that was appropriated to the department before the pandemic. That is causing a problem to some of the programmes that the department has left outside and only dealing with the pandemic,” said Majola.

She said they asked the department to have a better of communicating with communities on programmes they were unable to fulfil and why.

The chairperson spoke extensively on the morbidity and mortality of nursing staff and their mental health, issues that have been of great concern since the first wave.

Majola said the department was able to translate qualified staff nurses into professional nurses and nursing assistants into staff nurses.

She said that was to ensure the capacity of each and every nursing personnel was taken care of because it was critical to know how to ventilate a Covid-19 patient.

She added that Covid-19 exposure, morbidity and mortality was something they could not run away from.

“The morbidity and mortality of our healthcare workers is something we cannot say is not there. It is there and it is painful. They are very much overwhelmed,” said Majola.

She said afterwards they checked on the availability of a psychosocial layer which delts with all the health health workers that were overwhelmed.

“In that manner we were trying to see the performance of our mental hospitals. That is a report that we will be getting from the public sector in our next meeting because as much as they do have them, we need people who are professionals as far as the counselling is concerned because when you are looking at a nurse who hears her colleagues having died and they are experiencing death everyday, those people really need counselling,” said Majola.

She explained that the department was running low on human resources as far as nursing staff was concerned but the department was making means to recruit.

She said she knew that the recruitment that was being done was mostly mentioning people who had retired but those people had comorbidities, therefore it was not going to be easy to recruit.

Recently, there were photographs and rumours stating that hospital mortuaries were either full or bodies were left in wards because of it.

Majola said hospital mortuaries were holding mortuaries. There was a problem with hospitals which had a low capacity but people were made aware that they had to fetch bodies.

She referred to a circular issued by Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital which stated that bodies should be removed within 48 hours, bodies not collected in 48 hours would be taken to Gale Street Mortuary (a spill over mortuary for eThekwini hospitals) and if it is full Mariannhill Funeral Parlour is contracted to KZN hospitals will take over but the family will pay for costs.

Daily News

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