We have had a rough nine months ever since we experienced the COVID-19 pandemic In South Africa. It has been a year full of sadness and anxiety of losing our fellow comrades, colleagues and family members. This year also was very difficult for all the frontliners who had to wake up each morning to make sure the lives their communities are well taken care of, and that they receive more education regarding the pandemic. These essential workers did this even though that they might come into contact with the coronavirus as they always think of their communities first.
We struggled a lot as Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) with receiving proper protective equipment for us as we are the ones who go out to our communities to screen for possible cases, and to check on patients who take medications.
Gauteng CHWs are happy that we have finally received the permanent contracts from the Department of Health (DoH) to sign, although we are still not certain what the imposed condition of a one-year probation will bring at the end of it.
Christmas time is a very special and precious time where we normally visit and spend time with our families. It is so unfortunate that this year we have to limit the number of guests and avoid travelling, as we have reached what many have called ‘the second wave’ of the pandemic, with COVID-19 infection rates increasing greatly once again.
Life moving forward is not going to be easy as we know that as frontline workers we are the ones who are supposed to lead by example and practice all the safety precautions. It is important that we do this even during the festive season because our communities depend on us.
During this time we sometimes give out gifts, but this time around the best gift we can share is protecting ourselves and our communities by making sure everyone wears masks, avoids crowded areas (social distancing) and washing hands regularly.
CHWs are the pillars of the healthcare of the community, and they are the steering wheel of the Gauteng Community Health Care Forum. For this year’s festive celebrations we ask that we all remember this and take extra care. The Forum also needs your full participation and asks that you contribute to all the activities done by the organisation.
The Forum would like to thank Forum members for paying their subscriptions as agreed, although some comrades are still failing to comply with the agreement. The Forum office works very hard to deal with all the different parts of the CHWs struggle, and the struggles for better healthcare in our communities. This is why the Forum needs each and every members contribution each month. We hope and look forward to working together in 2021 to paying our subscriptions and paying off our debts to the Forum.
As part of the partnership with the Khanya FAJ Project, the Forum has and will be giving two recently published books (Tshepo Matoko – A Leader of A New Type and Activist Journalism in the Time of COVID-19) to members who are in good standing as a way to show that we appreciate them for taking care of the organisation.
We wish everyone a merry Christmas and/or festive season, and a lively New Year. May you all be safe and come back in full force as our struggle is not over. There are still have Un-contracted CHWs who are depending on our support to get back to work. We must also not forget our provincial comrades in the North West gand Mpumalanga (and all the rest of South Africa) who have been our constant supporters in our struggles here in Gauteng. This time we have to support their struggle as they deepen and strengthen their campaign for permanent employment by the DoH.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND PARTY SAFE!
KEEP READING BOOKS AND EMPOWER YOURSELF!
From the Forum Office Bearers
This statement was submitted on 21 December 2020. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.