The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says that from Friday, various healthcare-workers, especially those affiliated to the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU), will stage a stay away from work.
This is after YNITU had written a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa demanding the necessary protection to nurses and health care workers.
NUMSA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says it is shocking that at least one-point-five million additional workers will be returning to work on Friday without the necessary personal protective (PPE) gear.
“Numsa supports the stay-away by healthcare workers the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa stands in solidarity with all healthcare workers and in particular we’re in solidarity with the demands advanced by YNITU. As of the first of May at least 1.5 million additional workers will be returning to work as the lockdown restrictions are partially lifted but our government has still not done enough to protect healthcare workers. And in support of these just demands healthcare workers will be staging a stay away and they will stay away starting from Workers Day for an indefinite period of time.”
Mpumalanga health worker tests positive for COVID-19
Meanwhile, a health worker has tested positive for COVID-19 at Mapulaneng Hospital in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga.
Health MEC Sasekani Manzini says the health professional who is a dentist, was discovered through the ongoing screening and testing for staff in the hospital.
Manzini says the unit where the dentist’s work has been closed for fumigation and the department has already started tracking all those who were in contact with the health worker.
“As the Department of Health in Mpumalanga, we can confirm that one of the health professionals from Mapulaneng Hospital tested positive and we can indicate that it was as a result of the process that we are doing of screening all the workers when they came into our facility. We can also indicate that we have started the process of making sure that we continue with screening in the facilities and also the process of tracking all the contacts. We have closed curtain units already. We want to call for calm in the area of the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality.
The plight of healthcare workers in SA
Some healthcare workers in the country have had to work under difficult circumstances as infections in the country continue to escalate.
With a shortage of personal protective equipment, some healthcare workers don’t have things like masks and gloves.
Earlier this month, a health worker in Alexandra north of Johannesburg tested positive for the coronavirus.
The nurse was allegedly still allowed to report for duty after the diagnosis.
Unions raise concern
Nursing union Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) has raised concerns that healthcare workers continue to contract COVID-19 while on duty.
This after staff members at the Morningside Clinic in Johannesburg tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month.
St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban was under investigation by The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health after over 60 people tested positive for the coronavirus.
Denosa President Simon Hlungwani has appealed to hospitals to take necessary precautions to ensure that healthcare workers are safe.