NATIONAL NEWS - Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize yesterday conceded that lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line healthcare workers remained a big challenge in public hospitals.
He said 24,104 healthcare workers in the country were infected by the coronavirus, with 181 fatalities recorded. Since the advent of Covid-19, healthcare workers and unions have complained about inadequate PPE in public healthcare facilities, with some deaths reported due to poor safety measures.
Mkhize said it was in government’s interest to ensure that health workers were protected. The health department, he said, noted “with concern, increasing allegations of healthcare workers contracting the coronavirus in the line of duty”.
“We have received reports that some may be dying after being infected due to the lack of sufficient PPE, or due to sufficient PPE not being provided, failure or neglect by management to adhere to prescribed workplace safety protocols.
“This cannot be tolerated. To give an example, a few days ago my office brought to my attention reports that a doctor had passed away at George Mukhari Academic Hospital due to a Covid-19 related illness.
“There were also allegations that this was due to lack of sufficient supply of PPE and doctors being made to work in unsafe environments at the facility.
“I have decided to urgently appoint a team led by Professor Taole Mokoena, together with other medical, nursing and legal professionals, to conduct an urgent investigation and provide me with a report in 14 days.”