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Community Health Workers Protest; Demand Permanent Jobs

A group of community-based health workers staged protests at various clinics, demanding permanent employment, benefits and protective equipment in the fight against COVID-19. In a reaction to this, Western Cape Health Minister, Nomafrech Mbombo, has cut short a visit to health facilities in Khayelitsha due to safety issues.

The community-based healthcare workers staged a demonstration at the entrance of the Khayelitsha Community Health Centre in Site B ahead of Mbombo’s arrival.

Health worker Ntombethemba Maduna says their work in the community is not being recognised.

“We demand permanent employment like professional nurses because our work is the same and more, but the money we are earning is not enough when compared with the work we are doing. We want to be recognised by your department as permanent workers in South Africa.”

Mbombo later invited the leadership of the workers to a meeting next week.

“Let us meet next week. I’m not going to promise you anything in front of the TV and later say something else, but let’s meet next week and deal with the problems once and for all,” says Mbombo.

Community health workers staged a similar protest at the nearby Michael Maphongwana Community Health Centre in Harare. Health worker Bongiwe Chipeio says they are demanding proper PPEs.

“Our demand is proper PPEs. Most of our CHW’s have been infected with this COVID-19. One of us died yesterday (Tuesday) and nothing has been done. Our workplaces are overcrowded. There’s is not social distancing and nothing is being done.”

The healthcare workers are also demanding permanent employment by the provincial health department

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