Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) are in a dangerous situation of being at risk of being infected by this Coronavirus. Many have been told by their Co-ordinators to work without having the proper equipment that they should be using like other permanent healthcare workers. CHWs are being told that there is no need to wear gloves because they must be one metre away from those whom they need to screen and must not touch patients’ appointment cards or files.
This coronavirus pandemic is very dangerous to all people, but if the so-called “frontline” workers are not taken care of first, our world won’t have anybody to take care of it. Everyone will be dead by the time all the protective equipment we need arrives. Even qualified doctors are afraid of this virus called COVID-19.
This virus is making the community afraid of healthcare workers because they say nurses and doctors are the one’s who bring the coronavirus to their houses. So CHWs have had to educate the community not to panic about this situation and educate them how to handle this virus, especially because CHWs are being chased away from the communities that they work in. The community has a right to be worried, as they don’t want to be infected. But because of this, some people don’t want to be screened or tested for the coronavirus.
The hospitals and local clinics are being failed by the government and the health sector. While there are good people who have donated some money for more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), that still is not enough. Still the workers on the “frontline” don’t have such equipment.
South Africa, please let us be safe and always wash our hands. If you see that you have signs of flu-like symptoms, please go to your local clinic.
An Opinion Piece by Malena Phake (CHW)
This opinion piece was written on 10 April. Phake is a Community Healthcare Worker based in Vosloorus, on the East Rand of Gauteng.
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