Death toll among healthcare workers in public sector ‘shocking’ - Nehawu

Death toll among healthcare workers in public sector ‘shocking’ - Nehawu

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) says the public sector has seen the majority deaths among healthcare workers.


Nehawu, along with Cosatu and other affiliates, held a prayer day for fallen frontline workers on Tuesday afternoon.


The union says, to date, there are more than 250 healthcare workers that have lost their lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Of those deceased 83% are Nehawu members.


The union's general secretary Zola Saphetha, however, says they don’t believe the numbers given by government are accurate.


Saphetha said more than 900 families have claimed from funeral insurance provided for Nehawu, investigations are underway to determine how many died due to Covid-19.

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"In a public health institution, this shocking toll of fatalities has been a catastrophe waiting to happen that is why it is not a surprise that about three-quarters of the fatalities are in the public health institutions.”


He said health workers have been forced to return to work before they finished their 10 days’ mandatory self-isolation.


Saphetha said those who did not show symptoms were forced to return to work immediately.


"Many of them have recovered from their own strikes with Covid-19 and immediately got back to national duty.


“In fact, while observing symptoms were called to be on duty and worse those ones who are not showing symptoms were forced to come to work.


"Some of them when they completed 7 days of isolation they were called back.”


Saphetha said the allegations have been reported to the Department of Health, but it has not yet responded.

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