Die dokters het hulle nie teegesit nie – maar hulle het hul dan vrywillig getoets ‘n week voor die video gemaak is. Maar daar word nou beweer of uitgespreek hulle versprei dit van een provinsie na ander. Net ‘n spul leuens. Hoe is dit moontlik as mens onder self kwarantyn is en nie uitgaan nie. En selfs nou, na die selfkwarantyn, was ‘n hofbevel uitgereik om hul van hul veilige huise te neem na ‘n TB hospitaal toe, waar reeds siek pasiente is, en TB het.
Abri van Vuuren RSG 5 APRIL
Die Limpopo Gesondheidsdepartement sê die twee dokters midde-in ‘n dispuut tussen die departement en die Suid-Afrikaanse Mediesevereniging, was nalatig omdat hulle toegelaat het dat hulle huishulp terugkeer huis toe. Die dokters het vroeër positief getoets vir die coronavirus. Die Mediesevereniging pak die departement in die hof omdat die dokters onder gedwonge kwarantyn in Modimolle geplaas is. Hulle het vroeër aangedui dat hulle tuis in afsondering sal wees, maar is na bewering in opdrag van die LUR van Gesondheid, Phophi Ramathuba geïsoleer. Die departement sê die dokters het onder meer hulle huishulp se kind in gevaar gestel deur die ma toe te laat om huis toe te gaan
BACK GROUND / WAT GEBEUR HET …
Die vraag is, ons almal is onder “lockdown” maar die massas swartes staan in toue en loop en speel in strate rond, maar dis ons wat agter ons huise se mure sit en net uitgaan as dit moet.
Is ‘n self isolasie en kwarantyn dan nie effektief nie?
En hoekom word die twee blanke dokters, middernagtelik, na ‘n TB hospitaal agter deure toegesluit?
Waarom is die ander bekendes wie se name bekend is ook nie so opgesluit nie, en dan was daar weer ander wat ook onder kwarantyn was, wie se name nie genoem is nie en niemand mag weet nie, want dit skend hul privaatheid. Waar is die dokters se privaatheid dan, dit geld tog vir almal, behalwe as jy blank is in Suid-Afrika.
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Hofbevel is uitgereik om die twee BLANKE dokters wat in selfkwarantyn is in te neem na ‘n regeringshospitaal – TB hospitaal – en is middernagtelike ure uit hul huise verwyder. Waarom word hierdie twee dokters in al wat media berig is, geidentifiseer, maar al die ander , pasiente wat ook positief is, se name word nooit erens genoem nie.
Volgens die beeldmateriaal het hulle hulself nie teegesit nie, behalwe as ek nie Afrikaans so mooi verstaan nie. Daar is wel gepraat in die beeldmateriaal waar die twee dames moes reelings tref om hul honde te laat versorg, want mens kan die honde ook hoor blaf agter die hoe mure en hekke – polisie en die ander staan buite die hek. Mens kan tog nie die diere netso aan hulself oorlaat nie.
Two doctors in Limpopo are living in fear after they were allegedly forced into quarantine at a medical facility by the Limpopo government on Thursday after testing positive for Covid-19 on Sunday. The Limpopo health department is seemingly ignoring recommendations by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) by taking the decision to quarantine anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in a health facility.
“NICD guidelines remains guidelines and not a rule of thumb or a prescription,” Health MEC Phophy Ramathube said on Friday. The chairperson of the South African Medical Association (SAMA), Dr Angelique Coetzee, in a letter to Ramathube, said this approach could have “unintended consequences” as it could create fear and resistance among those who could potentially be infected. “Given the iron-fisted manner in which these doctors have been treated, it would come as no surprise if other doctors either refuse to be tested, or, worse, refuse to disclose their status.”
Taryn Williams and Claire Olivier – the two doctors who were forced into quarantine – were allegedly accused by Ramathuba of bringing the virus to Limpopo and said they “should have stayed where they were”, despite them living in the province.
The two were asymptomatic and had been self-isolating at home since testing positive, where they were being monitored by healthcare staff of the Limpopo health department. There had been no indication their self-isolation – the prescribed course of action for patients who test positive for the virus – was inadequate, Coetzee said.
Yet, on Thursday, emergency services arrived at their door and informed them they needed to move to a hospital in Modimolle, she added.
Both doctors resisted, believing their self-isolation approach was effective and it would be risky to be placed in an environment that could aggravate their conditions.
In the letter to Ramathuba, Coetzee condemned their treatment.
“The resulting court action you embarked on to force these doctors into a provincial facility, and the manner in which these doctors have been treated by yourself and certain healthcare staff of the province, is most unsettling,” she said.
Coetzee added, according to the two doctors, Ramathuba had said Covid-19 cases were brought to Limpopo by more affluent people who had travelled outside the province, and informed them they were responsible for bringing the virus to Limpopo.
“You [Ramathuba] informed them that they had brought the virus to the people of Limpopo, and that they should have stayed where they were at the time, despite their explanation that they work in Mpumalanga but live in Limpopo.
“Further to this, you informed the doctors that since they don’t work for the Limpopo provincial health department, they should go back to where they are employed. They were further told they can self-isolate anywhere they want, just not in Limpopo.”
Coetzee explained in the letter that it was misleading of Ramathuba to suggest the virus was linked to economic status and ignored available research. “This approach also politicises the spread of coronavirus at a time when the exact opposite approach is required.”
By forcing the doctors into quarantine at a medical facility, implied that proven methods of self-isolation was ineffective, she said.
“What is of greatest concern, however, is that your approach seemingly negates that of national government which is calling for strict self-isolation instead of hospitalisation, particularly of those who are asymptomatic.
“At a time when beds, equipment, PPE, medicines, and human resources are at a premium, surely those who can self-isolate within the parameters should be allowed to do so?”
Coetzee added this approach by Ramathuba would have “unintended consequences”.
In a statement on Friday, Ramathuba slammed the letter by the SAMA, saying the health department had taken a decision to take everyone who tested positive to an isolation site due to some patients not complying with the “rules of self-isolation”.
“The government has taken these kinds of decisions due to the appreciation of the material conditions on the ground considering the rurality and the limited resources in the province to do whatever it takes to arrest the spread of this virus before it can reach the ICUs and the wards.
“To this end, the department took a decision that this can be done by screening, testing, quarantining and isolating all those who need to without fear, favour or prejudice,” Ramathuba said.
She added it was a concern that doctors were being uncooperative “to the extent that they even expose their community to a possible super spreader”.
IS SELFKWARANTYN DAN EFFEKTIEF OF NIE ? HOEKOM IS DAAR DUISENDE IN DIE STRATE SONDER KWARANTYN OF AFSTANDE – WAAR IS DIE WEERMAG DAN?
“The court action you embarked on to force these doctors into a provincial facility, and the manner in which these doctors have been treated by yourself and certain healthcare staff of the province, is most unsettling”
Chairperson of the South African Medical Association Angelique Coetzee has written a strongly worded open letter to the Limpopo MEC for Health Phophi Ramathuba. This follows two doctors who work at Mmametlhake Hospital in Mpumalanga, but who live in Modimolle, Limpopo, testing positive for Covid-19 and being forced by the Limpopo government to spend their isolation period in a Limpopo multi-drug resistant tuberculosis hospital.
The letter speaks for itself so we republish it below in full. We have sent requests for comment to both MEC Ramathuba and Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize. This article will be updated if we receive a response.
Dear Dr Ramathuba
RE: Forced isolation in the Modimolle MDR-TB Hospital for two doctors tested positive for COVID-19 in Limpopo
I refer to the matter involving Drs Taryn Williams and Claire Olivier. The doctors work at Mmametlhake Hospital in Mpumalanga but reside in Modimolle, Limpopo.
As you are aware the doctors were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday, 29 March at a private hospital in Bela Bela. The doctors are asymptomatic, and have, in their own words, “been in strict self-isolation at our home” since testing positive.
Since becoming aware of their status, they have been contacted by yourself, and were visited by EMS personnel on Monday, 30 March, who performed physical checks, including checking on their vitals, which were both in range. No indication was given that the self-isolation approach by the doctors – which is a prescribed course of action once being treated positive for coronavirus – was unsatisfactory or inapt.
However, on Tuesday 31 March EMS personnel again arrived at the doctors’ house informing them they need to be moved to the MDR-TB Hospital in Modimolle, Limpopo, a move both doctors have resisted.
Their resistance to a proposed relocation is based on two pillars: firstly, they believe – as we do – that the strict-self isolation approach is, for now, the most effective course of action for them to follow, and, secondly, that moving them will place them in an environment which may, in fact, further aggravate their conditions while they are still clinically stable.
The resulting court action you embarked on to force these doctors into a provincial facility, and the manner in which these doctors have been treated by yourself and certain healthcare staff of the province, is most unsettling.
According to the doctors, you informed them that the spread of COVID-19 in Limpopo was not due to local spread, and that all cases were by people of high socio-economic status who had travelled outside the province. You informed them that they had brought the virus to the people of Limpopo, and that they should have stayed where they were at the time, despite their explanation that they work in Mpumalanga but live in Limpopo.
Further to this, you informed the doctors that since they don’t work for the Limpopo provincial Health Department, they should go back to where they are employed. They were further told they can self-isolate anywhere they want, just not in Limpopo.
This approach is distressing for a number of reasons.
To suggest the virus is somehow linked to economic status is misleading and ignores the vast body of available evidence which indicates, quite clearly, that it is indiscriminate in who it infects. This approach also politicises the spread of coronavirus at a time when the exact opposite approach is required.
The approach to the two doctors – healthcare workers who put their lives at risk at this time to care for others – also stigmatises the disease by implying the relevant, widely endorsed, and proven method of self-isolation is inappropriate. The message is that despite the worldwide acceptance of the practice, self-isolation is not viable in Limpopo.
What is of greatest concern, however, is that your approach seemingly negates that of national government which is calling for strict self-isolation instead of hospitalisation, particularly of those who are asymptomatic. At a time when beds, equipment, PPE, medicines, and human resources are at a premium, surely those who can self-isolate within the parameters should be allowed to do so?
We are disappointed in the approach you and the Limpopo Department of Health have taken regarding these two doctors; we believe it to be heavy-handed, unfair, and contrary to the provisions which national government has stipulated. We further believe that you are politicising the events for political gain, a truly troubling development.
Importantly, the approach you have embarked on will, undoubtedly, have unintended consequences going forward for many, many other healthcare workers in the country. Given the iron-fisted manner in which these doctors have been treated, would it come as a surprise if other doctors either refuse to be tested, or, worse, refuse to disclose their status? It may be that doctors seek other ways not to work (such as taking leave of absence for two weeks) instead of reporting for duty. Given the severe shortage of medical personnel this will cripple efforts to deal effectively with the pandemic.
I would like to strongly urge you to reconsider your approach to Drs Williams and Olivier, to rescind the court order to have them relocated, and to allow them to continue to self-isolate as they have done since Sunday. SAMA believes, as do I, that this is the correct approach. They should be given the space to recover in their home, and to be tested at the end of their self-imposed quarantine period. Once this is done, a future course of action can be considered.
In addition to writing to you, I will also be speaking to the Minister of Health, Dr Mkhize, with a view to him intervening to resolve this matter.
Dr Angelique Coetzee
Chairperson of SAMA