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Mkhize says additional nurses being brought in to alleviate Gauteng ICU pressure

7 July 2020 9:16 AM

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize talks to Refilwe Moloto about the various provinces' constraints as the Covid-19 pandemic spikes.

The next two months are critical in our fight against the coronavirus, as we expect to see a surge in infections in South Africa.

This is the grim warning from Health Minister Zweli Mkhize who says Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and KZN are of particular concern as their health systems take strain.

Refilwe Moloto speaks to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize about concerns that Gauteng is becoming the Covid-19 epicentre of SA again, as we expect to see a surge in infections in the next two months.

Mkhize says there will be a need to add additional restrictions in certain areas.

But certainly, we need to find a way of supporting communities to move towards behavioural change that will promote the reduction in the spread.

Minister Zweli Mkhize - Health

He says the numbers in Gauteng have shot up.

So it is possible we will have to move into some kind of restrictions but no decisions have been taken yet, but we are concerned with the rising numbers.

Minister Zweli Mkhize - Health

He says while they are obviously concerned, this rise to these levels was anticipated.

He comments on citizens nationally wearing masks and sanitising and says many are still complying as they did under the stricter lockdown levels.

But many are not taking it seriously. It takes a while, so we need to keep pushing the message, but we can't give up because we don't have another option.

Minister Zweli Mkhize - Health

There have been serious allegations of misspending of Covid-19 relief funds in the Eastern Cape with calls that the province is placed under administration.

Mkhize says he would not recommend that right now as it is a major challenge.

He says the province is still doing what it is tasked to do currently in terms of Covid-19 implementation.

There are weaknesses that you can see in the province, weaknesses in the management of the department, there is a historical problem of the underdevelopment of the health services, there are resource constraints, administrative challenges.

Minister Zweli Mkhize - Health

He says it may be more prudent to replace problematic individuals rather than take the enormous step of placing the entire province under administration.

Certainly, we want to keep focusing on strengthening the province's health services, but not take over completely.

Minister Zweli Mkhize - Health

With cases of malfeasance and theft, we have no time for that...and those cases have to be acted on very strongly...and make it clear we will not tolerate it.

Minister Zweli Mkhize - Health

He emphasises that there are also many very hardworking health workers throughout the country.

Refilwe asks the minister what is being done about cases such as Gauteng Covid-19 patient Shonisani Lethole who tweeted to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize was a plea for food, seemingly after staff at Tembisa Hospital failed to feed him for two days. He later died.

The minister agrees this is a very sad situation and it is under investigation and the health ombudsman is involved.

We want to make sure that anyone who is not given proper treatment is dealt with...We cannot condone any life lost from negligence.

Minister Zweli Mkhize - Health

He says the system has not breached the capacity for ICU as yet.

We do understand the number of patients coming into Gauteng is increasing pretty fast but we have not got to a point where we have run out of beds.

Minister Zweli Mkhize - Health

He says an additional 300 nursing staff is being brought in through nursing recruitment agencies where there is pressure in ICUs.

Listen to Dr Mkhize below:


7 July 2020 9:16 AM

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