Gauteng Forum On Temporary Shut Down Due To COVID-19 Third Wave

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Political Context of Covid-19 Third Wave 2021
Gauteng has been declared the epicentre of the Covid-19 third wave in South Africa. According to multiple sources and reports, this third wave of Covid-19 pandemic is proving to be more dangerous and fatal. The rising number of deaths are a result of the negligence of the South African government. The hospitals (that are open) have reached full capacity and are experiencing a shortage of nurses and community healthcare workers (CHWs) to deal with this third wave pandemic.

The Forum has also noted that most clinics in Gauteng are short of testing kits and are turning patients away in the middle of the third wave. There has been no mass screening and testing in the community. CHWs are being attacked, harassed and exploited under the current scary conditions. The government has also failed to take measures to educate the community and health workers about the importance of the vaccine as well as the procedures. Clearly, the government is not taking the lives of the working class into consideration as we have seen the slowness of distribution of the vaccine to the community. It seems the government is in a stalemate between choosing the health and well-being of the people of South Africa and the economy.

Gauteng Community Health Care Forum’s response
On the 25th of June 2021 Forum Office Bearers called an urgent meeting to discuss the rising numbers of Covid-19 infections in Gauteng as the epicentre of the third wave and what we should do to respond to the escalating situation.

The leadership of Forum feels the government is not walking the talk. As an organisation that is championing the interests of the working class and poor communities, the Forum feels it is irresponsible of the government to continue failing the nation in so many ways, especially in this time of the third wave. We also feel that it is irresponsible as activists for social change in the healthcare sector to keep the office operating as normal and risking the lives of its staff under the critical conditions of the third wave.

The Office Bearers have decided that the Office of the Forum at the House of Movements will be temporally closed and its staff will work from home. This temporary ‘lockdown’ will start immediately from 28 June 2021 and continue until we have passed the peak of the third wave and its safe in terms of the lowering of Covid-19 cases. But although the office will be closed, the Forum will continue to organise and mobilise CHWs and the community by using other safe means of organising.

Some of the Forum’s work under this temporary ‘lockdown’ will include doing surveys of PPEs, adherence to COVID-19 protocols in clinics, monitoring the environment within the community and monitoring the work scope of CHWs and their safety during this third wave of the pandemic. We will also be continuing with our legal work remotely in terms of case work and providing legal advice to CHWs.
Physical workshops and meetings will be suspended until further notice unless there is an urgent matter, in which case only a very limited number will meet physically.

We advice CHWs and our community to practice precautions to stay safe and to stay home as much as possible.

• Always wear a mask

• Wash your hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol base sanitiser

• Practice social distancing and stay at least 1,5m apart from another person

• Cough or sneeze in your elbow

• Clean all your surfaces regularly

• Keep windows open where there’s clusters of people together, especially in taxis

The Forum will be reachable here:
Forum Office Hotline – 083 264 9230
Legal Advice office – 079 772 7471

Issued by the Forum Office Bearer
Secretary: Zanele Nomdikinya – 0796605262
Chairperson: Patricia Makhubu – 0678331788

Re Tla Dula Re Direla Setshaba!!!!

This press statement was released by Gauteng Community Health Care Forum on 26 June 2021.

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