Concerns have been raised over the lack of PPE for nursing staff caring for the city's homeless community during the 21-day lockdown.
Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)
Concerns have been raised over the lack of PPE for nursing staff caring for the city's homeless community during the 21-day lockdown. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

DA calls for more protective gear for nurses caring for Durban's homeless community

By Mercury Reporter Time of article published Apr 7, 2020

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Durban - Democratic Alliance councillors, Mmabatho Tembe and Martin Meyer, have called on the eThekwini Municipality to supply medical staff, working at the city's temporary homeless shelters, with more personal protective gear. 

Speaking following an oversight visit to the lockdown shelters on Tuesday, Tembe said they visited the shelters which have been set up at Strollers, People's Park and at the old Durban drive-in site. 

"There is a lack of sufficient personal protective gear such as disposable masks, gloves or sanitisers and plastic aprons. Nurses working at these facilities have only been screened once for Covid-19 and have not been tested for the virus," Tembe said. 

She said not all shelters separated the TB patients from other patients, which could lead to the likelihood of TB being contracted by the homeless community who are not currently infected.

"The nurses do not have enough wound care supplies such as gauze, cotton wool, antiseptic ointment and bandages to deal with the cleaning of wounds.
The only thing that nurses are currently able do is record cases in a book and wait for a doctor to attend to matters. They are told to contact the state ambulance in case of emergency, but this is an insufficient resolution as there are long delays," Tembe said. 

Tembe said that she has written to the Head of Health in the municipality, Dr Nomakhosi Gxagxisa, to urgently address this. 

"Urgent action must be taken to protect both the nurses and the homeless community they are tasked with caring for. This unacceptable state of affairs has also been raised with the responsible acting deputy city and city managers," she said. 

The Mercury

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