South Africa: Committee on Health asks Minister to investigate the shortage of protective gear in public healthcare facilities

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Thursday, 02 April 2020 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo expressed concern over the reported shortage of protective gear for health workers at healthcare facilities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
Dr Dhlomo expressed the concern following reports that are in the public domain about unhappiness conveyed by trade unions regarding the shortage of protective gear for health workers at public healthcare facilities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
In a meeting with the Department of Health, where the committee was briefed by the department on its Annual Plan, the safety and security of staff and patients was highlighted as a strategic and top priority in the plan. “If we translate, this means there would be no staff member who would be on the front line, to see and receive patients without the protective clothing especially masks”
 
Therefore, the committee cannot ignore the reports about the absence or shortage of masks in any of the public healthcare facilities. We urge the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize to investigate the complaints as voiced by the trade unions,” said Dr Dhlomo.
 
 “Fortunately, I had the opportunity to meet with the Minister who also indicated that the safety of healthcare workers remains a top priority of his department. He said an investigation into the matter will be conducted and report back on the findings.
 
“This will give assurance to the trade unions and healthcare workers that we indeed support them and care about their safety,” Added Dr Dhlomo.

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo

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