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NURSES THREATEN TO DOWN TOOLS OVER LACK OF PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2020-03-16

NURSES all over the country have threatened to down tools tomorrow and march to the ministry of health over lack of protective clothing.

This comes as the country deals with its first confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case.

This was confirmed by Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA) President Bheki Mamba. Mamba said the ministry is not telling the truth when it stated that there was protective clothing for nurses.

He said  the country had minimal items to be distributed in the health facilities. He said even the little protective clothing available was old as it was what was left during the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus outbreak back in 2009.

Mamba said there is no guarantee that this protective clothing will indeed protect nurses from contracting the coronavirus.

When addressing the issue of Lubombo Referral Hospital, Mamba said the problem there was that the ministry had promised to evacuate the hospital personnel, everyone and leave only those dealing with the patients when the need arose.

He said, however, that did not happen as by yesterday staff was not evacuated from the hospital yet the patient was already there. He said other nurses were exposed as protective clothing was only given to those who were dealing with the patient.  “What about those in the same building,” Mamba said. He said the ministry should have ordered protective clothing while there was still time. what is happening now is that suppliers are in short supply of protective clothing due to the high demand. He said nurses were given general gowns to wear.

Further, he said government neglected nurses and only gave training to port of entry officers.  He said nurses were not to be blamed for refusing to respond to the call at Siteki because they were not trained to handle the situation. “Nurses have since resolved to take to the streets on Tuesday to deliver a petition at the ministry’s offices calling for protective clothing. We want a clear protocol on what is to be done. What is causing confusion now is that there is no clear protocol on what needs to be done,” he said.

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