Steve Biko Academic Hospital health workers attending to patients at the parking lot which has been convernted in to a ward due to shortage of space in the hospital.Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Steve Biko Academic Hospital health workers attending to patients at the parking lot which has been convernted in to a ward due to shortage of space in the hospital.Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng Health’s response to Covid-19 crisis at Steve Biko Hospital appalling

By Opinion Time of article published Jan 13, 2021

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By Lerato Mthunzi

The Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU) is appalled at the Gauteng health department’s response to the state of affairs at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

The department has confirmed that the hospital is overwhelmed due to the growing number of Covid-19 infections as seen in the disturbing images that have been circulating on social media.

Instead of erecting decent structures to shelter patients and medical staff, the provincial department sees it fit to erect tents.

It is clear that the government has failed to prepare for this eventuality, resulting in our people being treated under inhumane conditions. This is very unacceptable.

We are against the use of tents for Covid-19. We need new wards to be built in preparation for the third and fourth wave that is anticipated instead of the reactionary response that we are seeing from government.

YNITU has stated that government’s failure to prepare facilities for the Covid-19 storm will put more pressure on our health-care system. The storm is here and we are far from ready.

It is disgusting that people continue to suffer because greedy officials steal from the public purse instead of using funds to improve hospitals and provide resources.

The disease burden and the country’s population was growing immensely even before Covid-19.

There has always been a need for more wards, resources, and staff.

But the government has been failing to address these shortages. Our people deserve better than tents.

They deserve the government to provide a well-thought out plan that will ensure that their human rights are not trampled upon.

Lerato Mthunzi is the president of the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union.

The Star

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