By Kaya 959 News
Nursing union DENOSA is calling on the government to address the ongoing disruption of South Africa’s healthcare system due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It says at the core of the disruption to healthcare services is the under-utilization of nursing skills.
DENOSA says government needs to put a clear strategy in place to address the gradual disruption that COVID-19 is causing.
Disruptions in critical services
A Survey Report released by the International Council of Nurses on Wednesday shows that specialised nurses are not being represented at the highest decision-making structures.
South Africa was one of the 105 countries surveyed.
The report states that just under 40% of the countries surveyed have their Chief Nursing Officers sitting at the highest decision-making intervention structures.
Furthermore, 28% reported the non-existence of Chief Nursing Officers in their countries.
Speaking at an event in Pretoria to mark International Nurses Day, DENOSA President Simon Hlungwani, says nurses need to be represented.
The report also found that COVID-19 has led to disruptions in critical areas such as:
– About 70% reduction in community routine vaccination;
– 69% reduction in Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) service.
– 61% reduction in treatment for mental health disorders;
– 55% reduction in cancer diagnosis and treatment;
– 46% reduction in malaria diagnosis and treatment;
– 42% reduction in TB detection and treatment; and
– 28 million routine surgeries cancelled.
DENOSA says the reduction in critical services can be attributed “largely to reprioritization and redeployment of healthcare workers from these service areas to fighting COVID-19”.
The union says SA is sitting on a ticking time-bomb.
“DENOSA is concerned that South Africa’s picture is no different to the findings of the ICN Report, and that the country is sitting on a ticking time-bomb as the effects of these reductions will further compound and worsen to a point where healthcare services won’t be able to respond adequately.
“This will have negative impact on the economy since both economy and health are interlinked.”