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Healthcare workers share stories of being in the frontline fighting COVID-19

7 July 2020 11:30 AM

Clement Manyathela shines a spotlight on the difficulties faced by frontline workers during the pandemic.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Monday that the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 205,721. There were 8,971 new infections.

There were 111 new coronavirus-related deaths: 50 from Gauteng; 35 from the Western Cape; 17 from Limpopo and 9 from the Eastern Cape. The total number of deaths is 3,310.

RELATED: What to do when you find out that you have tested positive for COVID-19?

With the numbers soaring, is the adequate support for those working in the frontlines?

Clement Manyathela facilitates a conversation with different healthcare workers on the challenges they face during the pandemic and Groote Schuur Hospital Infectious Disease Department professor Sipho Dlamini.

Our ICU before COVID-19 was an eight bedded unit and currently it is a 18 bedded unit. This pandemic has hit nurses in a hard way, we have had to almost rediscover ourselves, we didn't know anything about it.

Sister Phillips, Operational manager - Groote Schuur Hospital

She says the human resource side of the pandemic has hit hospitals hard as they are constantly shot staffed.

We have had to give care when we ourselves had tested positive and some of our family members are being affected. We walk with fear when we walk daily amongst COVID-19 patients.

Sister Phillips, Operational manager - Groote Schuur Hospital

She says in the three months since the pandemic hit the country, healthcare workers have shown an amazing spirit ad have pulled together to fight it.

Dlamini says the country is going through a difficult time and at Groote Schuur Hospital, management has worked on a response to help alleviate these challenges.

A number of teams in the hospital meet once a week to gather support from their colleagues, he says.

We encourage healthcare workers to use available resources to help them. We understand that these are challenging times and often we are working very long hours under difficult conditions.

Professor Sipho Dlamini, Infectious Disease Department - Groote Schuur Hospital

Given the challenges that the country is faced with, healthcare workers' spirits are high, he adds.

At Groote Schuur Hospital, management has recognised that offering physiological support to healthcare workers is important. During these times we have offered our healthcare workers a telephone number they can phone to speak to a physiologist. In addition, what we have done in the last couple of weeks is offer onsite physiological support.

Professor Sipho Dlamini, Infectious Disease Department - Groote Schuur Hospital

Lindani, a healthcare worker, says there is heroism that healthcare workers are showing.

Health workers are not immune to the virus thus leading to some of them becoming victims of this virus. And that affects their ability to care for the sick.

Lindani, Healthcare worker

Nurse Sono says working in the hospital during the pandemic has affected all healthcare workers.

It has left us with so many questions like whether I am going to survive this virus.

Nurse Sono, Healthcare worker

Listen below to the full conversation:


7 July 2020 11:30 AM

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