‘Overwhelmed’ Eastern Cape calls for SANDF help to fight pandemic

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Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has admitted the province’s hospitals are “overwhelmed” in the fight against COVID-19, and has asked national government for the support of the South African National Defence Force medical team, reports Polity. The Eastern Cape Health Department hospitals have been struggling to cope with the influx of patients, as staff at some hospitals embark on go-slows over various grievances around their work environment.

According to the report, Mabuyane said: “In light of our health system being overwhelmed, we have made a request to national government to deploy the medical team of the South African National Defence Force to assist us with the health intervention of our strategy.”

The report says Mabuyane’s admission about the crisis of the province’s hospitals comes amid growing outcries from nurses and doctors about being overwhelmed by high number of patients at hospitals and a lack of resources.

Health Department superintendent general Dr Thobile Mbengashe said projections show the province needs 10,000 beds to deal with the COVID-19 storm when the virus peaks in the province in the next three months. They will also need 3,000 ICU beds for the peak in July, August and September.

He said the provincial government has appointed additional health workers for hospitals to address challenges faced by other health workers at the Dora Nginza Hospital, Livingstone Hospital and other hospitals in the province.

Full Polity report

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