As the number of coronavirus infections increases across the country, frontline workers are not only contracting the virus and dying from it – they’re also at a higher risk due to the physical and mental strain on them.
Many health workers in private and public health facilities who have recovered are now scared to go back to work. In KwaZulu Natal alone close to 500 frontline workers have tested positive.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says although health workers have been provided with personal protective equipment, members in some hospitals are not happy with the quality.
Nehawu provincial secretary Ayanda Zulu says healthcare workers need more training around the virus and the use of the PPEs.
“We have told the department to say they must provide psychosocial support for workers, those who are at work and those also we have been infected. Some workers are even now afraid to report at work, more especially in the hospital like ENkosi, General Gizenga formerly called Stanger hospital which is the second in the public health system with a lot of infections. Workers are extremely worried but we have told the department to make sure that they provide this particular support because these health workers are in the front line in the fight against COVID-19. We need them to make sure that they are in a good state in terms of fighting against COVID-19.”
More ventilators to be secured
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health says the province has a total of 400 ventilators available in the private and public sectors to cater for critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Provincial Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane Zulu says they are in the process of securing more.
“As a government, we have just about 200 ventilators in the province. There are other ventilators that are available in the private sector, and that number also goes to about the same. However, we as the government have also ordered new ventilators. We’ve ordered about 100 ventilators on our own. We have been also promised a donation of another 100 ventilators.”