Emotions are very high among employees at Philadelphia Hospital in Dennilton as the institution has been flagged by a rapid increase of Covid-19 cases. Workers in the hospital are blaming the Health Department for the alarming surge of infections, citing a serious shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and contravention of the Covid-19 Regulations in the health institution. Eight workers are said to be tested positive for the pandemic while about 40 are in isolation awaiting results. They allege that a number of doctors and nurses have already resigned due to shortage of PPE, leaving the hospital in a serious shortage of staff members. Philadelphia Hospital has currently facing a serious shortage of staff members on which about 40% of posts are still vacant, urging some staff members to work unpaid extra shifts.
According to employees, shortage of PPEs is inadvertently exposing them to the coronavirus with a significant increase in just a few past days. Despite the confirmed cases posing infection risk to workers and patients, the hospital operate normally admitting patients without even fumigated.
An employee, who did not want to be named, said they have raised concerns with the management and were told the hospital was not allocated budget to deal with Covid-19 while they are in the frontline to fight the pandemic.
“This comes as a surprise as the hospital was declared by the province to treat Covid-19 patients from other hospitals,” he said.
He added that despite eight staff members testing positive for the virus, the information was not disclosed to the rest of staff members and only those who work closely with the infected workers were told to test and self-isolate.
“There is no transparency at all and we are afraid to ask too much because the CEO is a dictator and can dismiss us we challenge him,” he said.
He lamented their working environment as dangerous as a result of shortage of PPEs, contravening the Covid-19 healthcare regulations standards and maximizing chances of staff members getting Covid-19 at their workplace.
“As essential workers, we put our lives at risk but we don’t get full PPEs and not properly screened when reporting to work. Everyone is thinking of resigning but we have nowhere to go as nobody want to be unemployed, we will continue working even if we are vulnerable and the most exposed,” he said.
Limpopo Department of Health Spokesperson Neil Shikwambane said they will investigate the allegations and comment soon. Shikwambane later could not be reached as his phone rang unanswered and did not respond to the messages sent by the paper.