#CoronavirusSA: Black plastics can be used as PPE, says Gauteng health
The Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) says it is worried about their members working at Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH) who are wearing black plastics as Covid-19 protective gear.
The PSA also alleges that the hospital is forcing some of its members, who have tested positive for Covid–19, to continue working.
Stop the mockery
Speaking to Health-e News, Reuben Maleka of PSA says: “Our members are now being exposed, mocked, and undermined by management making them wear plastics as personal protective equipment (PPE). Stop making a mockery of the frontline workers and provide the necessary PPE and aprons.”
According to Maleka, after seeing the video that emerged showing staff how to wear a black plastics, they immediately called a meeting. “We demanded an urgent meeting with Steve Biko management [to discuss] wearing plastics as aprons. The PSA contested such wearing of plastics as PPE.”
Still on the frontline
He adds there are PSA members, who wish to remain anonymous and have tested positive for Covid-19, are still being forced to work.
“Some of our members who have tested positive and supposed to be in quarantine, [but] the Steve Biko [Academic] Hospital is forcing them to work. These people [are] in contact with patients every day, which means they further spread the virus,” Maleka tells Health-e News.
While the Gauteng Department of Health has admitted they are providing black plastics as PPE to SBAH staff, they have disputed the claims that staff who have tested positive for Covid-19 are still working.
“Plastic aprons are part and parcel of PPE. [They] are working outside in tents in a windy environment and regular aprons are not safe [because] they can be lifted by the wind and hit the staff member on the face, [thereby] infecting [the] staff member. PSA has been well informed on the purpose of this plastic gear,” says Kwara Kekana, the provincial health spokesperson.
Kekana says that the PSA statement about staff who tested positive for Covid-19 and forced to work is not factual. “PSA [have had] access to management in a meeting on May 8 and this issue [about Covid–19 positive staff] was not raised at all by PSA,” says Kekana, adding that PSA will have to follow a solution-orientated procedure with management. According to Kekana, no staff member at SBAH has tested positive for Covid-19.
But PSA maintains that is not true. “It is regrettable that a health institution can hide such information instead of addressing it to ensure adherence to regulations,” Maleka says. – Health-e News
For more information on Covid-19 in South Africa, you can call the toll-free line on 0800 029 999, or you can send a message that says “Hi” on WhatsApp to the number 060 012 3456. You can also visit the SA Coronavirus website.