Thursday, 13 October 2022.
POLOKWANE – The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Limpopo seriously condemns the recent incident of harassment and attack of a nurse at Burgersfort Clinic, in the Sekhukhune District, which is circulating on social media platforms, after a woman arrived and delivered outside the clinic before the clinic opened.
DENOSA calls on the Department of Health in the province to open a criminal case against the perpetrator and to send a message against unwarranted abuse of healthcare workers which is continuing in many communities.
The clinic operates between 07h00 and 16h00 weekdays, and the woman arrived before the clinic opened. It used to operate for 24 hours, but due to several reasons, like shortage of nurses and harassment of healthcare workers by community members around the clinic, the facility ceased to operate for 24 hours. It has been two years since the clinic stopped its 24-hour operation.
On the day of the incident in question, on her arrival before the time of opening the clinic, the nurse was informed by security that there was a woman about to go on labour outside. She quickly took her delivery pack and rushed to the gate where the patient was already delivering, only to be confronted later over a matter that is beyond her control.
The continuous harassment and attack of nurses at the clinics and hospitals is of serious concern to the organisation and nurses in the province as it affects them psychologically and has negative impact on the provision of health services to our communities.
We call on community members not to turn our health facilities into political platforms or stage theaters as means to pursue their political agenda.
The community must take ownership and participate fully in the governance of health facilities around their areas so they can understand clearly how they operate, to avoid blaming nurses on issues like shortage of staff, infrastructure challenges and policy expectations that are beyond their control.
We appeal to community members, especially pregnant women, to take responsibility for their own health by following health advices given by nurses during Antenatal visits and to stop taking advises from ordinary community members who are not health professionals.
We take noted of the intervention by the Department of Health in clarifying the incident.
As an organisation, we take note of the intervention and further call on the Department of Health to act decisively by:
– Arranging psychosocial support for the affected nurse and other employees.
– Strengthening security in the health facilities to protect employees.
– Opening a criminal case against the perpetrators who harassed or verbally abused the affected nurse inside the clinic and taking her pictures and circulating them on social media platforms without her permission.
Previously, a similar incident occurred at Vaalwater Clinic, in the Waterberg District, where the MEC supported nurses and acted decisively by opening a criminal case against the perpetrator who harassed one of the nurses.
DENOSA will, unreservedly, protect nurses and the profession from any form of abuse, attack and defamation.
DENOSA wishes the nurse great strength and pledges its full support for her, as her only crime was to speak the unwanted truth: that the clinic opens at 07h00.
DENOSA will seek an audience with the community around the clinic, with the view to clarifying issues whose ambiguity often leads to the blame directed at nurses whereas they have no control over systemic or policy issues of the department that they work for.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Limpopo.
For more information, contact:
Jacob Molepo, Provincial Secretary.
Mobile: 072 576 4979
Lesiba Monyaki, Provincial Chairperson.
Mobile: 072 578 2753