SAMA calls for protection of medical staff, patients during violent protests

The SA Medical Association (SAMA) on Wednesday called for the department of health to look into effective ways of safely getting patients to medical care facilities amid unrest in some parts of the country.

The association asked for contingency plans for airlifting and inter-facility transportation of patients, as some roads are closed due to the protests.

SAMA called on the health department, police and military to protect medical staff as they try to deliver essential services.

“The violent nature of the protests, with attacks on delivery trucks and essential service personnel, has raised critical concerns about the safety of healthcare workers as they travel to and from hospitals to perform their duties,” SAMA said.

“The health sector has been at the forefront of the Covid-19 battle and has not had the luxury of being able to stay at home during lockdown.”

SAMA said recent protests are placing health workers’ lives at risk at a time when they are working tirelessly to protect and save lives.

“Security is of utmost importance and security measures must be put in place to ensure the safety of those who are duty bound to be on call,” the association said.

In Soweto, protesters tried to gain access into the Chiawelo medical facility on Tuesday night. 

Security guards positioned at the clinic managed to thwart their attempts. 

Speaking to TimesLIVE, one nurse stationed at another clinic in Soweto said they were working under worrying conditions.

“We never thought we would one day need to work with soldiers guarding us. These are things we would see happening in other African countries but it has become a need. This is not a way to work,” she said. 

SAMA stressed that it needed surety that essentials, such as water, electricity and medical gas, would not be interrupted during this time.

It called on its members to alert the association should they feel unsafe in their areas of operation.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.