Covid-19: Call to improve advice to fearful health care staff staying away from work

The SA Medical Association said the spreading of fake news and miscommunication was fuelling the fear among front line workers fighting the virus.
The SA Medical Association said the spreading of fake news and miscommunication was fuelling the fear among front line workers fighting the virus.
Image: 123rf.com/ gekaskr

Out of fear of getting infected with Covid-19, a number of health care workers in the Eastern Cape have opted to stay at home, the SA Medical Association (Sama) said on Wednesday morning.

“If there are not enough doctors or nursing staff, who is going to look after the patients? It simply cannot happen,” Sama chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee said on SAfm radio.

Coetzee said the spreading of fake news and miscommunication was fuelling the fear among front line workers fighting the virus.

“I think there is a lot of fake news out there. The more fake news there is and the more people listen to the fake news, the worse it gets and harder it gets to explain the right facts to the health care workers because they believe what they want to believe.

“I think when they [health care workers] hear that one of their colleagues has tested positive, it creates such an uncertainty angst among health care workers and nurses that they don’t go to work out of fear, and it shouldn’t be like that.

“They [health care workers] need to understand the basics of the virus,” Coetzee told SAfm.

Coetzee said hospital management should have made sure that staff fully understood all the protocols and details concerning the virus.

“One of the things that Covid is doing is highlighting all the inefficiencies in the health care system that were never addressed. It highlights the inequalities in the school systems regarding toilets, water, electricity and classrooms that are too full.

“These are all things that have happened before but now with Covid-19, we have a real crisis, we are suffering because of lack of proper management.”


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