Pregnant women who walk in hospital corridors, sick patients lying in a crowded hospital on mattresses, desperate patients clinging to life while waiting for a doctor, growing waste dumps of used medical equipment, and dirty and bloodied hospital floors.
These are just some of the scenes that have already started playing at Dora Nginza and Livingstone Hospital in Nelson Mandela Bay, while Covid-19 is hitting its claws daily in the Eastern Cape.
The latest figures show there are 25 195 confirmed cases in the Eastern Cape, with 397 deaths.
With the increase in people suffering from Covid-19, these two hospitals are starting to burst out of their seams.
The recent strike by workers at the two hospitals – including nurses, porters and cleaners – has forced health services to its knees.
Concerned doctors, nurses, paramedics and cleaners say they fear the “coronavirus storm” that Dr. National Health Minister Zweli Mkhize recently warned is imminent.
A nurse at Dora Nginza Hospital who wants to remain anonymous says in particular the maternity ward at the hospital was negatively affected by the strike.
According to the nurse, some pregnant women waiting for medical help began to labor in the corridors of the hospital.
“There were only a handful of doctors and about two nurses on duty. Doctors had to be furious to do everything themselves.
“The workers who did not show up refuse to work in areas with Covid-19 patients before being disinfected.”
At Livingstone Hospital, surfaces that are not thoroughly disinfected are also why workers do not show up.
As a result, there is no thorough screening of people visiting the hospital.
Garbage dumps that include used medical equipment, bloodied hospital floors, infected halls, offices and bathrooms are the order of the day, according to a paramedic who transports patients to the hospital daily.
“With the basic things that are not right, such as cleaning the hospital and screening, the spread of the virus there will triple,” said the paramedic.
Provincial health department spokeswoman Sizwe Kupelo strongly condemned the workers who left their posts.
He referred to Dora Nginza Hospital and Frere Hospital in East London.
“It doesn’t matter what their grievances are, letting patients down is unforgivable. This puts pregnant women and their babies at risk.
“One doctor in the maternity ward at the two hospitals had to play God when they were left to their own mercy.”
Kupelo emphasized that the department has deployed more workers at hospitals to ease the workload, and that workers who leave patients in their hour of need violate their oath of office.
According to the FF Plus, the public health sector in South Africa has already reached its death date and Covid-19 is not the cause of death alone.