Denosa: COVID-19 proved govt can improve working conditions

Nurses have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, but many have raised concerns about their working conditions such as the shortage of personal protecting gear and under-staffing.

FILE: A group of health workers comprising nurses, porters and cleaners protested at Tygerberg Hospital on Tuesday - citing concerns over personal protective equipment. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) said through the interventions made to fight COVID-19, government had demonstrated that it had the capacity to address the working conditions that nurses have been complaining about for years.

Tuesday was International Nurses Day, a day observed to recognise the contributions made by nurses around the world and was also the birthday of British nurse Florence Nightingale who founded modern-day nursing in the 1800s.

Nurses have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, but many have raised concerns about their working conditions such as the shortage of personal protecting gear and under-staffing.

Denosa’s Gauteng chairperson Simphiwe Gada said nurses should be given an additional allowance for the work they have been doing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said with the swift action taken to fight COVID-19, government had proved that it was able to better the working environment of nurses: “The issue of improving working conditions can no longer be postponed. Therefore, we want to say to the deputy minister that he must take these tasks and champion them.”

Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla has conceded that they may be falling short in some areas: “We are engaging, and we promise that we will be very honest with you. We will not promise you heaven and Earth in areas where we will not be able to deliver but we are very open.”

Phaahla said while they could not promise to address all concerns, they did promise to be transparent through the local government.

Meanwhile, a group of health workers comprising nurses, porters and cleaners protested at Tygerberg Hospital on Tuesday - citing concerns over personal protective equipment.

They also want more support in the fight against the pandemic.

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo addressed them: “We’ve already come up with and developed policies and guidelines for health setting and non-health setting and types of risks assessment in terms of how is your risk to exposure.”

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.