Thursday, 06 October 2022
JOHANNESBURG – As the low water levels forced JHB Water to apply water loadshedding, which has affected healthcare facilities such as Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital and Helen Josephs Hospital, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Gauteng is worried about the potential outbreak of infections for patients and staff at the affected facilities because of scarce water, which could cause severe disruptions to operations if the water shortages persist.
Already, DENOSA is made aware that some staff members at Hellen Josephs Hospital have reportedly been infected with gastroenteritis which could be caused by, amongst other things, viruses, bacteria or bacterial poisoning. This places the general hygiene of the facilities to serious question, not to mention the inconvenience to patients who often have to travel lengthier distances to relieve themselves in toilets that have running water toilet in high floors are not operating due to water shortages.
DENOSA is particularly worried about Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, which is a delivery hospital. More worrying is that, while JHB Water provides water tanks during the day, the concern is that the facility operates 24/7 and water is likely to run out after their (JHB Water) working hours. The risk of getting opportunistic infections for patients (mothers and infants) as well as staff is high.
The shortage of water is leading to the abuse of nurses who often have to carry water on buckets from wherever it is to the wards, which is not their scope of practice and is an additional work. In the times when the government is not willing to adjust the salaries of public servants, DENOSA does not think it’s a good idea for its members to risk their careers for acting outside their scope of practice like carrying water in their backs. Workers may not even get paid if they get injured on ‘duty’ while carrying water.
As DENOSA, we are concerned that staff members may face litigation for anything that takes place as a result of the shortage of water. DENOSA reminds healthcare professionals to record this water shortage down as misconduct cases ordinarily take effect after five years (meaning nurses may have to answer to their professional body in five years’ time for misconduct cases that occurs during this period of water shortage in 2022).
As if the water shortage is not enough a challenge, DENOSA is disappointed to learn that the Provincial Department of Health’s new provincial offices on 45 Commissioner Street in Johannesburg almost followed the Bank of Lisbon Building (previous GP Health head offices) when it caught fire on Monday 3 October, forcing the staff to work from home until this coming Friday as a result of yet another ignorance of Health and Safety measures by the department.
The standby generator caught fire, which almost smoked the building into disappearing.
Regular maintenance of the generator and frequent checks on it would have averted this health and safety red flag.
DENOSA hopes the incoming new Premier of Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, will take the matter of health and safety very close to his heart. Provincial head office staff will be updated on Friday whether they can return to work in the office from next week or not.
Issued by DENOSA in Gauteng.
For more information, contact:
Bongani Mazibuko, DENOSA Gauteng Provincial Secretary.
Mobile: 071 686 9544
Simphiwe Gada, DENOSA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson.
Mobile: 072 563 1923