HPCSA saddened by COVID-19 deaths of healthcare workers

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is saddened by the increasing number of deaths that the country is currently experiencing since the outbreak of COVID-19. As of 30 August 2020, there are 625 056 confirmed cases and 14 028 deaths countrywide. This also includes healthcare workers who have succumbed to the virus. According to the National Department of Health, 27 360 healthcare workers both from the public and private sector are reported to have been infected. It is unfortunate that 240 of the healthcare workers have succumbed to COVID-19.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers have selflessly put their lives at risk and, as a result making them vulnerable to the virus. It is our obligation to ensure that we preserve our assets and work together to assist our healthcare workers by not overwhelming the healthcare system.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE is a dire necessity that is required for healthcare workers, especially for those working in the frontline. It is the duty of healthcare employers to ensure that the appropriate PPEs are provided at the appropriate level of care. The provision of PPEs and a conducive and safe working environment will enable frontline workers to carry out their duties effectively and efficiently on a daily basis.

The healthcare sector has lost several healthcare workers due to COVID-19. These frontline workers go over and above their call of duty to ensure that they save lives. As the country is now in level 2 lockdown, Council encourages the public to continue to do their part and practise social distancing, washing of hands with soap and water or alternatively using an alcohol-based sanitiser. Council cannot over-emphasise the importance of the proper wearing of masks when out in public. Council is also pleading with all healthcare workers to ensure that they always practise the basic principles of hygiene, wearing a mask and social distancing especially when they are not wearing their PPEs.

The overall adherence to the regulations outlined by Government will assist the country to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of the virus since it is estimated that the virus will be with us for the next 18-24 months.

Council would like to take this opportunity to send condolences to the family members of all who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19.

“We find ourselves in uncharted territory with the outbreak of this virus. Every day brings new challenges and the HPCSA will continue to provide guidance and support to its healthcare practitioners. We thank our healthcare practitioners for their hard work and dedication, we salute them on this mission of saving lives,” said Dr Kgosi Letlape, President of the Health Professions Council of South Africa.