Fatigue hits health workers as Covid-19 infections spike
By Rudolph Nkgadima 2m ago
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HEALTH Minister Zweli Mkhize says he is concerned by the exhaustion faced by healthcare workers.
This comes as doctors and nurses say they are unable to cope with the increasing number of Covid-19 patients at hospitals.
On Sunday, the SA Medical Association, said it wanted President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently intervene as healthcare workers are under severe strain trying to cope with the resurgence of new Covid-19 infections and deaths in the country.
The association is calling on the president to take the country back to level 2 lockdown, with particular restrictions on gatherings.
“Most of the hospitals are filling up. The real challenge for us with staff is that there is a huge amount of exhaustion. People have been working since the first wave, which was really a lot of pressure and a huge burden as there was no rest. Then of course this came quite soon without most people having to get much rest,” said Mkhize.
Meanwhile, Dr Andrea Mendelsohn, a senior Western Cape medical officer, wrote an open letter saying health workers are already tired from the past nine months and many are off sick or in quarantine.
According to Mendelsohn, health workers have been getting over 100 patients a day walking in for a Covid evaluation.
“In June we had a huge Covid-19 pandemic, but we were ready. Level 3 regulations were in place. People were minimising social contacts … now we’re all fatigued. Health workers are tired, many are sick. People are tired, people want to have a break,” she said.
Mkhize also said that they have put up a whole programme to ensure that health workers have enough PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) at work.
“We have said health workers must point out when they don’t have PPEs. We are working closely with unions and we are actually putting up a kind of audit to check where there are not enough PPEs.
“In this one we are very firm that we don’t want our health care workers to be exposed to any risk because of the lack of PPEs,” he said.