WATCH | Emotional scenes as nurses honour one of their own who died of Covid-19

04 August 2020 - 09:53 By Unathi Nkanjeni
A nurse in Welkom has succumbed to Covid-19, increasing the number of health-care workers who've died from the deadly virus.
A nurse in Welkom has succumbed to Covid-19, increasing the number of health-care workers who've died from the deadly virus.
Image: 123RF/Yuriy Klochan

SA's front-line health-care workers are dying as they help save thousands of lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hospitals are overwhelmed, health-care workers lack personal protective equipment (PPE), and some staff suffer from underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to this deadly virus.

A recent video shared by Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union touched many as the organisation honoured one of the nurses from Bongani Regional Hospital in Welkom, Free State, who died from Covid-19 complications.

In the video, that was shared on Monday, health-care workers can be seen and heard walking behind the body as it is being taken away.

Some can also be heard crying while others pray in the background.

The organisation's general secretary, Rich Sicina, confirmed the validity of the video to TimesLIVE.

“Another guard of honour for our fallen hero. Nurses are succumbing to this deadly virus. Who will hold the front line?” the organisation wrote on its Facebook page

Health-care workers hit hard

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), health-care workers in Africa have been hit hard by the virus.

The organisation said more than 10,000 health workers have been infected in 40 African countries.

“There are now more than 750,000 cases of Covid-19, with more than 15,000 deaths. Some countries are approaching a critical number of infections that can place stress on health systems. SA is now among the worst-hit countries in the world,” said WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti.

“The growth we are seeing in Covid-19 cases in Africa is placing an ever-greater strain on health services across the continent. This has very real consequences for the individuals who work in them, and there is no more sobering example of this than the rising number of health worker infections.”

Moeti said many health centres were found to lack the infrastructure necessary to implement key infection prevention measures, or to prevent overcrowding.

Only 7.8% (2,213) had isolation capacities and just a third had the capacity to triage patients, Moeti said.

“One infection among health workers is one too many,” said Moeti.

“Doctors, nurses and other health professionals are our mothers, brothers and sisters. They are helping to save lives endangered by Covid-19.

“We must make sure that they have the equipment, skills and information they need to keep themselves, their patients and colleagues safe,” she added.


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