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Protecting our health workers: A plea from the South African Department of Health

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By Lee-Yandra Paulsen

In the wake of disturbing reports detailing attacks on health officials, the Department of Health in the Republic of South Africa is urgently calling upon residents to safeguard the well-being of those who dedicate their lives to public health. The department emphasizes that such incidents not only jeopardize the safety of health workers but also create an environment that discourages them from carrying out their essential duties.

The spokesperson for the National Department of Health, Foster Mohale, addressed the issue during an interview with VOC Breakfast, on Wednesday. Expressing concern over recent attacks, especially on nurses, Mohale shed light on the challenges faced by health officials due to the inherent nature of their jobs. “We have noted the recent attacks against health officials, especially nurses, who fall victim to violence and crime because of the nature of the job,” Mohale stated.

He appealed to communities, particularly during the festive season when health workers are diligently on duty, to collaborate with the department, government, and law enforcement agencies to ensure the protection of these dedicated professionals. “We call on the communities to help with the department, government, and law enforcement agencies in order to protect these health workers,” Mohale pleaded.

Highlighting the significant risks health workers undertake to save lives, Mohale stressed the importance of South Africans stepping up to shield them. He pointed out that health workers often face both verbal and non-verbal abuse, especially from intoxicated patients involved in accidents, who display rude and aggressive behaviour towards them.

Mohale shared a chilling scenario where ambulances are called to seemingly emergency situations, only for paramedics to become unwitting victims of violence. “Some people call the ambulance as if it is an emergency situation and then call the paramedic into a dark corner claiming that the subject is there. The paramedic unsuspectingly goes to those areas to look for the victim but unfortunately, they become the victim themselves,” he explained.

Asking society to remain vigilant and create a safer environment, Mohale urged citizens to ensure the safe entry and exit of paramedics from their communities. “If anyone suspects anything and cannot confront the situation, they can just call the police,” he advised, emphasizing the need for collective efforts to protect those who dedicate their lives to saving others.

VOC News

Photo: Pixabay

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