Today's Labour News

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medicaldoctorFinancial Mail writes that red flags about a local shortage of infectious disease specialists have raised fears that SA may struggle to cope with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) should there be an outbreak.  

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has done a number of tests on people in SA, but no-one has tested positive for the virus.  Though TB is the country’s biggest killer and antibiotic resistance and hospital-acquired infections are common in public and private hospitals, the speciality best equipped to deal with this has the fewest training posts funded by the government.  According to Tom Boyles of the Infectious Diseases Society of Southern Africa, only nine infectious disease specialists are in training in SA currently, "a trivial number compared to the burden of disease and the number of trainees in other specialties".  Only five provinces have tertiary hospitals with infectious disease consultants, while the others have none.  Boyles noted that “ if large numbers of cases arrive we will not have the capacity for infectious disease consultants to assess them all."  Ironically, it could be the private sector that would be most affected by the lack of infectious disease consultants.  While some infectious disease consultants have been forced into the private sector due to the lack of posts in the public sector, they are still a relatively small number, Boyles pointed out.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Katharine Child at BusinessLive
  • See too, SA still has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, says NICD, at TimesLIVE

Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page