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SOUTH AFRICA | Stop Attacks on Nurses: Tshwane Health

onisayi Maromo

Harassment and attacks on nurses must stop – Tshwane head of health

The Tshwane metro has expressed concern over the repeated harassment and assault of healthcare workers, particularly nurses working at municipal clinics.

Speaking to the African News Agency in Pretoria at an event marking the International Nurses Day, City of Tshwane Member of Mayoral Committee for health and social development, Eulanda Mabusela, said healthcare workers endured enormous abuse.

“The way our nurses are treated by the public is so sad. We have had a number of attacks on our nurses. We had an attack and a case of rape at Kgabo clinic (Mabopane) and we also had another attack at Block BB clinic (Soshanguve),” said Mabusela.

“Those are our 24-hour facilities and they are often over-populated. Our nurses are being insulted and all that, moreover during weekends when people are just done with their fun. When the community comes to the hospital with abdominal pain and stab wounds, they don’t even care about the other patients that nurses are attending, they demand to be attended.”

She said it was important for the nurses to interact with the communities they served in a bid to educate them on tolerance.

“It is not fair for our nurses. I have called on the nurses to occupy the space by educating the community. It is not possible that each nurse be on duty over the weekend. We work with skeleton staff during weekends because of resources and also because the nurses are mothers who need to be with their families,” said Mabusela.

“They (the attackers) must stop because you can close your eyes and imagine a world without a nurse. At one point I even told the district health director that it would be better if we close down the Block BB clinic during the night. After giving it a thought, I resolved that it would be better to keep talking to our people continually until we are heard.”

Mabusela said the city was cognisant of the harsh working conditions of nurses and measures were in the pipeline to improve the situation. “The environment is not conducive. Infrastructure development is our priority as the city of Tshwane. We have revamped a number of clinics,” she said.

“As part of the infrastructure development, we need to buy generators for a number of our clinics. In times of load-shedding, our clinics must continue to thrive and to prosper.” Numerous nurses gathered at the annual celebrations with lit candles and lamps.

International Nurses Day is commemorated across the world on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Commonly referred to as the “Lady with the lamp”, the Italian-born Nightingale is best remembered for her work as a nurse during the Crimean War and her vast contribution towards the reform of conditions in military field hospitals. She is attributed as the founder of modern nursing.

Published: May 12 2015. By Jonisayi Maromo

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