Minimal sanitisers, masks and PPEs lead to absenteeism at 4 Joburg Covid-19 testing sites

The Gauteng government deployed a team of health workers to the Stjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra, Johannesburg to test people for Covid-19. (Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images)
The Gauteng government deployed a team of health workers to the Stjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra, Johannesburg to test people for Covid-19. (Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images)

Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo visited a testing site at District C in Roodepoort on Tuesday, where he heard concerns over minimal resources for healthcare workers.

The district has four testing facilities and one of its challenges is a shortage of sanitisers, masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for trained healthcare workers.

The four testing sites include Rex Clinic, Weltevredenpark Clinic, Bramfisherville Clinic and Cosmo Clinic.

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Makhubo heard that another issue was absenteeism as staff members at the four testing sites "panicked" over the minimal resources.

He also heard that some of the clinics had an overflow of patients travelling from other regions to test for Covid-19 and there was a shortage of stock from stores and pharmacies.

The four clinics have tested 1 375 people so far, with none testing positive, clinic manager Stella Uys said.


She added the region had 21 cases of the coronavirus reported from different private laboratories.   

The region has done 35 home visits, while 516 people were screened at Princess informal settlement, 91 at Cosmo City and 12 screenings at Florida police station, she added.

Uys said some of the other challenges included physical distancing at taxi ranks, isolation for suspected persons who live in one-room shacks with family members, transportation for swabs to conduct testing, and transport for referred patients.

Speaking shortly after the site visit, Makhubo said they expected containers to come in to replenish the clinic stock in all of the metro’s testing sites. 

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"I just got information from the chief operating officer that they have ordered a lot. The consignment is coming. The consignment will be distributed to all our clinics, so this should be addressed after a week or so. For now, they have enough for two weeks. That is what they have told us." 

Nehawu court case

This is happening at the same time that Nehawu is taking on Health Minister Zweli Mkhize over what it says is government's failure to develop and implement a budgeted and comprehensive rollout plan, especially for the provision of PPE and sanitisers.

Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha said the decision was taken following numerous reports from different workplaces in the provinces and health districts about the situation, News24 reported.

The union represents, among others, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, cleaners, dispensary and reception clerks, community health workers, ambulance and morgue workers, community care workers and laboratory technicians.

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