Nurses being exposed to TB, body claims

2011-07-25 20:00
Pretoria - Many nurses are contracting TB in the line of duty due to a shortage of protective clothing, a nursing organisation said on Monday.

"This is a problem in all provinces," Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) spokesperson Asanda Fongqo said in a statement.

"We are shocked to learn this, particularly because it is due to lack of protective clothing like masks."

Fongqo further expressed concern that nurses were allegedly not receiving compensation after contracting the disease.

The claims emerged at Denosa's national executive committee meeting held over the weekend.

Fongqo would not name hospitals and clinics where nurses were being exposed, saying the organisation would still investigate the allegations.

Comment from the national health spokesperson Fidel Hadebe could not immediately be obtained.

According to Fongqo, some hospital managers allegedly forced nurses to work in TB units even after they had been infected with the disease.

Fongqo said some of these issues were constantly raised in the bargaining council, but it seemed the government did nothing.

He described the situation as "unacceptable", especially in light of the "chronic" shortages in the nursing sector.

"It will just drive people away... Government must address this with urgency."

Denosa was now expected to head for arbitration at the end of August, in relation to a case of one nurse who was allegedly dismissed after refusing to return to work in a TB ward after being infected.

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