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Researchers identify 10 ways that SA govt can show up for its healthcare workers

1 August 2020 12:56 PM
Tags:
Healthcare workers
covid-19 pandemic
frontline workers
Researchers

A group of medical researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has urged the government to step-up care for its healthcare workers.

Four research scientists at UKZN have argued that the government lacks a coherent welfare strategy for healthcare workers.

Frontline healthcare workers who work closely with Covid-19 patients are at an increased risk of falling ill.

They're also facing immense pressure as coronavirus infections overburden South Africa's weak healthcare system.

In an opinion piece published on The Conversation, the research experts have proposed 10 key areas where the government can improve the welfare of healthcare workers amid the pandemic.

The article, titled 10 ways South Africa can step-up care for its healthcare workers, proposes the following points:

  • Prioritise screening and testing for healthcare workers
  • Provide adequate personal protective equipment and train people in how to use it
  • Step up disinfection procedures
  • Step up mental health and support services
  • A recruitment drive to increase healthcare personnel
  • Move to digital platforms
  • Confront the risk and concerns
  • Provide financial motivation and dedicated transport
  • Communicate between facility management and staff
  • Provide financial compensation for illness or death

RELATED: Nehawu: Negligence, lack of PPE contributing to Covid-19 amongst health workers

Professor Kaymarlin Govender, who co-authored the article, says South Africa's healthcare sector has been historically undervalued and underresourced.

Prof Govender says the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation.

He chats to CapeTalk host Sara-Jayne King about the proposed welfare strategy for healthcare workers.

We need some kind of coherent strategy that addresses all the issues related to healthcare workers.

Prof Kaymarlin  Govender, Research Director - Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) at UKZN

One needs to look at risk-mitigation issues at a hospital-level or clinic-level and psychosocial support for healthcare workers, and other aspects of welfare support.

Prof Kaymarlin  Govender, Research Director - Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) at UKZN

South African has a historical shortage of healthcare workers. We've had a historically undervalued sector... culturally regarded and feminine, underrecognised, underpaid, and invisible.

Prof Kaymarlin  Govender, Research Director - Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) at UKZN

Read the full article on The Conversation.

Listen to the discussion on Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King:


1 August 2020 12:56 PM
Tags:
Healthcare workers
covid-19 pandemic
frontline workers
Researchers

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