No PPE, no work! Union tells health workers as infections rise in sector
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the government was working on increasing the number of PPEs being distributed across the country. He said the country had acquired PPE stock that could last for the next four to eight weeks.
He also noted the assistance of Cuban doctors who arrived in the country on Tuesday. The doctors will be distributed across the country based on the various skills needed and the number of infections.
Mkhize defended the decision to ask for assistance from Cuba, saying the doctors were not in the country to take away people’s jobs and instead were here to augment the human resources in the country.
Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines said: “These statistics reveal that health workers continue to work in unsafe working conditions where PPE is not sufficiently provided. We continue calling on our members to refuse to work when PPE and safe working conditions are not provided by the employer.
“Hospersa is also demanding safe transport for health workers as most employees in public and private health facilities make use of public transport to reach their workplaces,” said Desfontaines.
“When the lockdown measures are eased on 1 May 2020, many other non-screened public commuters will be sharing the same transport with health workers which will increase the risk of infection amongst these essential workers. More infections among health workers will also derail any plans for the country to successfully control this virus as currently the public health sector is under-staffed,” added Desfontaines.
“We have also called for regular screening of health workers and counselling facilities to deal with the anxiety amongst health workers created by this deadly virus. We remain firm on our convictions to government that neglecting health workers’ demands for basic necessities like PPE puts their lives at risk and will be unnecessary casualties during this fight against COVID-19.”IOL