#AIDS2016 Conference with Kaya News’ Nomsa Zwane – Day 2
Its day 2 of the #AIDS2016 conference
The iNkosi Albert Luthuli International convention centre precinct was a hive of activity today, with various NGOs and civil society groups exhibiting their great work for the world to see.
This ranged from food to hand work, dance and information stalls.
However there’s one group I could not just walk past and that was the Community health Care Workers. They had staged a peaceful protest next to the entrance chanting struggle songs and displaying slogans like “Discarded and Disregarded”.
I had a chat with some of them just to find out what their grievances were. Amongst many others, they are calling for an end to outsourcing, they want a salary increment and permanent employment.
These workers form part of thousands others across the country who feel like they are not valued and recognised by our health system.
A few weeks ago I attended to similar protests in some parts of Gauteng including Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and the Vaal. Workers there were also making these demands. This also saw the disruption of services at government clinics and hospitals.
They told me that the work they do puts their lives in danger of contracting illness from the outpatients they work with. Part of their job is to walk for hours a day conducting door to door visits to bath, feed and give medication to people who can’t help themselves like the elderly and the frail. All this without the backing of a medical aid.
Majority of these patients they are talking about are living with HIV, TB and other serious chronic ailments. Obviously these men and women do a daunting job but they excel at it. Abanavalo.
Not everyone can settle for R2500 stipend a month and go around taking care of people they hardly know. That’s what I call humility and these workers should be taken care of by the national department of health.
Our health department must get its ducks in a row and prioritise such important issues.