Covid-19 killed 339 state health-care workers between March and November
Pandemic has taken an 'enormous' toll, says health minister Zweli Mkhize
Almost 340 state health-care workers died of Covid-19 related illness in SA between March and November, health minister Zweli Mkhize said in response to written questions in parliament.
A total of 339 health-care workers died in hospital during this time, with most deaths occurring in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. As of October 31, there were 35,145 confirmed Covid-19 cases among the state health-care community, said Mkhize.
"The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on human resources in health since the first positive case in the republic has been enormous,” he added.
To offset the loss of available personnel, the state had temporarily employed thousands of citizen doctors (2,926) and nurses (14,232), he said.
The health ministry had also developed a formal strategy to protect health worker safety through a range of Covid-19 infection prevention and mitigation measures. These included education and training, social and psychological support.
Western Cape health department head Keith Cloete has also highlighted the huge toll of the pandemic on health-care workers. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Cloete said the emotional strain was “a huge burden on society”.
“Every one of our health-care team members either recently lost someone close to them, or has a family member or colleague in hospital,” Cloete said.