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NEHAWU Calls On Healthcare Workers To Protest

Healthcare workers are praised as the heroes of the covid-19 pandemic, but who is fighting for them? Being in the frontline is often glorified, but it has come at a price for many healthcare workers who have been facing unfair conditions.

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The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (NEHAWU) is planning to protest against the conditions that healthcare workers have been faced with during the pandemic.

General secretary of NEHAWU, Zola Saphetha said workers and managers at health institutions complained of staff shortages. 

Saphetha said this shortage was not only limited to specialist positions, as some nurses being were forced to do jobs that would normally be assigned to cleaners. 

"This generates an unbearable environment and experience for patients and visitors. Not to mention the extreme work overload imposed upon the current workforce in the face of covid-19."

"The public health institutions are chronically suffering from unsanitary conditions, long queues, exhausted and irritable workforce amongst other negative factors"

In addition to this shortage of staff, NEHAWU found that there was a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Saphetha said four months ago, the government had told the union that there was enough PPE in stock.

However, most managers at health institutions did not know how long the stock would last as they were not given details about a plan to restock PPE.

"We also found that there were challenges in relation to PPE distribution to frontline workers. In one instance, frontline workers were given a surgical mask on Friday to wear for the following week."

"Unfortunately you can't wash this mask, if you wear it, you throw it [away]. They were repeatedly wearing it without necessarily being guided on how they must protect their lives".

 

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