The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in Eastern Cape on Tuesday called for the private sector to protect healthcare workers against the Covid-19.
The trade union concerns were raised after a nurse, who worked for a non-governmental organisation (NGO), died due to the Covid-19 in the province.
“Denosa is expressing its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of registered nurse Noluthando Xhotyeni-Sulo. She is the first practising nurse who succumbed to the Covid-19 that is ravaging our province,” the organisation said in a statement.
Denosa said the numbers in the province were increasing at the alarming rate and the healthcare personnel were at the receiving end.
“The death of the nurse is a testimony that the healthcare workers are at high risk of the Covid-19 and their protection is paramount and it cannot be compromised. As the cases of Covid-19 are increasing, so are the numbers of infected healthcare personnel,” it said.
The organisation said the private sector was the “biggest culprit of failing to protect its front-liners” as the numbers of infected nurses increases on a daily basis.
“The private sector is accounting for more than 70% of nurses who are infected. As much as the focus is on the public sector in the lack of PPEs for healthcare workers, the private sector is the biggest culprit of failing to protect its front liners,” it said.
The trade union said although it was first reported in March that nurses in private facilities were highly infected, it was disappointing to see that in May nothing had changed.
“The ugly head of capitalism is showing where profits have been put before the lives of the front liners, in particular, the nurses. We are calling for the private sector and NGOs to protect healthcare workers against the Covid-19.
“Professional Nurse Xhotyeni-Sulo fell in the line of duty and she passed on carrying thermometer and stethoscope. We need to take over where she left off and continue with the journey of nursing care and need to do that without compromising our health and safety,” Denosa said.
Denosa reiterated its call for nurses practising in the province that they must not touch patients if they were not provided with masks and gloves while working with potential Covid-19 cases.
“No PPE, No Work!”