OFM News reports that this means six more healthcare workers in the province, working on the frontlines of the pandemic, have died as a result of the novel coronavirus since the department paid tribute to healthcare workers in a virtual service held on the 11th of August 2020. The department’s spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, says a total of 2 742 healthcare workers have contracted the coronavirus thus far. Of that number, over 2300 have recovered in line with recovery rates across the country.
Mvambi expresses his condolences to the loved ones of the healthcare workers who have passed on. He thanks healthcare workers on the frontlines who are soldiering on for their sacrifice.
The CEO of the Universitas Academic Hospital, Motseoa Mabitle, is today unveiling a remembrance board in honour of all the health workers that succumbed to complications affiliated with the virus at the Bloemfontein-based hospital. The ceremony is being held at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Medical Faculty, which links the hospital and the university.
Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, has said previously that “unfortunately in any battle, there are bound to be casualties. This has certainly been the case in the Free State. We have, unfortunately, lost men and women who occupied the front lines in the war against Covid-19. The Department of Health is in contact with all affected families to ensure that they receive all the necessary support during this pandemic and beyond”. It is yet to be determined what kind of support the provincial health department, in particular, and the government at large will be giving the families of deceased healthcare workers.
In June and July, OFM News reported on protest action at various hospitals by healthcare workers alleging Covid-19 protocols were not being adhered to. Unrest erupted at the Fezi Ngubentombi Hospital in Sasolburg, National Hospital in Bloemfontein, the Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli Hospital in Phuthaditjhaba, the Senorita Nthlabathi Hospital in Ladybrand and the Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein between April and July. The concerns and demands were the same across the board, staff members were requesting adequate provision of personal protective gear and stricter measures to help curb the spread of the virus in hospitals.
Mvambi went on to call the demand for hospitals to be shut down as a result of active cases, as irrational and unsustainable.