COVID-19: PSA opens criminal case against health head in KZN

The union says health workers have been without PPE since the start of the lockdown.

COVID-19: PSA opens criminal case against health head in KZN

By Zimbili Vilakazi for GroundUp

The chairperson of the Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) in KwaZulu-Natal, Mlungisi Ndlovu, has opened a criminal case against the Ekuhlengeni Psychiatric Hospital CEO and the Head of Department (HOD) in the province, Dr Sandile Tshabalala.

This comes after union members at the hospital alerted Ndlovu that they have been working without Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) since the beginning of the lockdown.

Ndlovu says the hospital is putting the lives of healthcare workers and patients at risk.

“Should there be a person among them that contracts the virus, we will see a disaster in the facility just like in a few other Durban areas. The hospital together with the provincial department is failing the employees and patients by not providing PPEs,” says Ndlovu.

Union members approach the police

He says they went to the police because in the past few weeks the department has not been willing to address their concerns.

“We’ve written several letters to the MEC Nogagugu Simelane-Zulu but none of them have been answered. We further did several follow-ups but they were ignored as well. We then saw it necessary to approach the police because she had made it clear that she didn’t want to have the matter addressed,” says Ndlovu.

PSA shop steward at the hospital Bongani Gqokoma said, “We’re in trouble. It’s clear that we are going to get sick and it will go unnoticed. We’re fearful of the safety of our own health and that of the patients that we look after.”

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker confirmed that a case of contravening the Disaster Management Act was being investigated by KwaMakhutha SAPS.

Questions sent to the Department of Health on Sunday afternoon were not answered by the time of publication.

Source : The South African More   

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Report highlights growing concern of depression among footballers

Depression among footballers is on the rise according to a survey conducted on locked down players by FIFPro.

Report highlights growing concern of depression among footballers

Increasing numbers of professional footballers are struggling with anxiety and depression having been forced out of action with the sport suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by global players’ union FIFPro released on Monday 20 April.

FIFPro surveyed 1,602 players across 16 countries, including England, Scotland, France, Australia and the United States, with 468 female players featured in the study.

Growing concern of depression among footballers

It found that 13 percent of male players surveyed, and 22 percent of female players, reported symptoms of depression. Close to one in five of both male and female players reported symptoms of anxiety.

“In football, suddenly young men and women athletes are having to cope with social isolation, a suspension of their working lives and doubts about their future,” said Vincent Gouttebarge, a French former player who is FIFPro’s chief medical officer.

While many countries have gone into strict lockdowns in attempts to slow the spread of Covid-19, Gouttebarge pointed out that many professional footballers live in foreign countries without family, and in many cases suffer added anxiety because of being on short-term contracts.

The FIFPro survey follows an identical study undertaken in December and January which found that the percentage of players reporting symptoms of depression were much lower — just 11 percent among females and six percent among males — although it involved only 307 players.

“In us performing the study and publishing these results we are very conscious that what we are communicating here is a reflection of a problem in broader society that affects many more people than our members,” said FIFPro’s General Secretary, Jonas Baer-Hoffmann.

“I think the emphasis should be more on understanding that football players in general are actually more similar to average society than most people think.”

Footballers in many countries have been confined to their homes with competitions having been suspended since mid-March.

Discussions are ongoing among federations and governing bodies about how and when the season can resume, with Europe’s biggest leagues hopeful of starting again soon with matches behind closed doors.

However, Baer-Hoffmann sounded a note of caution and dismissed suggestions that the study provided any argument for rushing back onto the field.

“If we were to pressure players back in an environment where they may feel their safety is being put in danger, then it would rather add to their anxiety and concern,” he said.

© Agence France-Presse

Source : The South African More   

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