The South African Medical Association (SAMA) is expected to approach the High Court in Polokwane, on Monday, to make an urgent application against the Limpopo Health Department with regard to the isolation of two doctors allegedly against their will.
The doctors were taken to the Modimolle Multi-Drug-Resistant TB hospital last Thursday after testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) allegedly on the instruction of MEC Dr. Phophi Ramathuba.
‘Doctors acted irresponsibly’
The Limpopo Health Department says the two doctors at the centre of its dispute with the SAMA, acted irresponsibly while self-isolating, in letting their domestic worker come to work after they had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The department says all patients in quarantine, after having tested positive for the coronavirus, will be released once they are cleared of the infection.
Head of the Limpopo Health Department Dr. Thokozani Mhlongo says the two doctors put the life of the domestic worker’s young child at risk by potentially exposing her to the COVID-19 infection.
“These are clinicians. These are people who know the circumstances of their domestic worker and we were saying that they could have done better particularly in alerting authorities to say this person cannot self-quarantine under the circumstances. Therefore, would you want them to take over because they simply said they told the person to self-quarantine? Now we are saying an ordinary person couldn’t have applied their mind but that’s not what we expected from clinicians, that’s all.”
SAMA chairperson, Angelique Coetzee, says the department is not adhering to the guidelines of National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“At this stage, SAMA cannot agree with the way also these two doctors were handled for us this is totally against the national guidelines that have been released by the NICD this is also not in line with the guidelines that have been adhered to worldwide.”
Open Letter to: 2
Dr PC Ramathuba,
MEC for Health,
Republic of South Africa: April 2020https://t.co/UceXFn5flq
Forced isolation in the Modimolle MDR-TB Hospital for two doctors tested positive for COVID-19 in Limpopo pic.twitter.com/4DnhzqWl36
— SAMA (@SAMedicalAssoc) April 2, 2020
WELLNESS SUPPORT FOR SA HEALTH CARE WORKERS DURING THE COVID-19
To date we have seen just under 1600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa and, sadly, nine deaths. https://t.co/AP9xs42cZU
— SAMA (@SAMedicalAssoc) April 5, 2020