Nurses march over education delays, deteriorating conditions at Tshwane's health facilities
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Pretoria - Healthcare workers under the banner of the Democratic Nursing Association of South Africa (Denosa) have given the Gauteng Department of Health its first warning shot over delays in nursing education and deteriorating conditions at Tshwane's health facilities.
The nurses and student nurses gathered at Burgers Park in Tshwane today making their way to deliver their memorandum of demands to the departmental offices in the city centre as well as delivering another to the South African Nursing Council (SANC).
Bongani Richard Banda, the Denosa Regional chairperson, said enough was enough and the organisation could no longer stand by whilst nurses challenges were all but being ignored by the district office and provincial health.
Firstly, Banda said even though nurses went to school to specialise and were expected to work as such, they were not appropriately remunerated, which spoke to the unfair labour practices being employed by the department.
Healthcare workers under the banner of Denosa march over delays in nursing education and deteriorating conditions at Tshwane's health facilities. #COVID19 #Denosa #Health #Tshwane pic.twitter.com/fvsVu4UO7N— Pretoria News (@pretorianews) November 25, 2021
As a result of this, he said many nurses were often discouraged to go to school and develop their careers.
The shortage of nursing staff in many health facilities was another issue Banda said the organisation could no longer ignore as it had been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The nursing fraternity has been experiencing staff shortages for a long time but Covid-19 showed us that it was actually worse than we thought. We see nurses taken from hospitals to bulk up support for vaccination sites to do extra duties while no extra helping hands are being brought in."
"Our nurses are experiencing exhaustion, burnout and all sorts of conditions affecting their immune systems with no support from the employer which cannot be allowed to continue."
Banda said what made things worse in the City of Tshwane was that newly built health facilities such as the Boikhutsong clinic in Soshanguve and the Mandisa Shiceka Clinic in Hammanskraal, were not being used in spite of the dire need in the community for facilities.
He said following up on why the buildings were not being utilised they were met with party politics between the changing administrations within the City.
"Now we find ourselves stuck between the department compensating the City to receive the occupancy certificate on those particular buildings before they can be occupied.
“Those buildings must be opened as the existing structure is in such a poor state that at one point all nurses from the Boikhutsong area were infected with Covid-19 with each wave because of the lack of space."
The group's memorandum was accepted by Modise Makhudu, the Director for Primary Healthcare in the district.
Simphiwe Gada the Denosa provincial chairperson warned that failure to respond to the nurses challenges and demands would result in further protests in all regions as they too were battling.