Nehawu slams health department’s response to Covid-19 second wave

Members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union can be seen protesting outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on their national day of action, 3 September 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The union said they believed the government was more reactive than proactive in the virus response.

The National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has slammed the Department of Health’s response to Covid-19 as the country faces a resurgence in infections.

“In our view, as Nehawu, we need an urgent meeting with the Minister of Health and the Department of Health to assist in developing a right mindset of South Africans regarding the Covid-19 pandemic through psychological preparedness awareness campaign to be driven in order to change the mindset of our people as a whole including educating them about the nature and pattern of this virus,” said Nehawu in a statement.

The union said they believed the government was more reactive than proactive in the virus response.

“Our struggling healthcare system could have been better prepared to deal with a second wave if both government and the Department of Health implemented our fact-finding mission report,” said Nehawu.

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The union, which represents thousands of healthcare workers across the country, accused the Health Department of suppressing the numbers of infected healthcare workers.

“According to the health department, a total of 7 451 health care workers countrywide have been infected with Covid-19 in the public sector since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We believe that these numbers might be low in real terms because we know for a fact that many healthcare institutions hide the test results of infected workers in order not to scare other workers and keep them working,” reads the statement.

“For example, at the Addington Hospital in Durban more than 50 workers have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last three weeks, with about 20 more still waiting for their results.

“No formal communication has been made to workers nor attempts to sanitise or shut down of the affected area of the hospital,” said Nehawu.

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This article first appeared on Berea Mail and was republished with permission.

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