Fri, Jun 5, 2020

Living conditions undermine social distancing

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Since the enforcement of lockdown has begun things have been very difficult especially when it comes to maintaining social distance. It’s been difficult for us to comply with at home because we are living in a RDP house which is one room and we are a family of 7 including my mother ,2 sisters, 3 children and myself. We are very concerned because we can’t keep one meter apart as we the house is too small for all of us. During cold weather it is like we are breathing the same air. We are not sure if coronavirus is going to spare us in case one of us gets infected.

Lack of water while Women’s Day is celebrated.

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It is women’s month but in Sekhukhune, South Africa we still see things that will break your heart. It is on 8 August 2019 just few hours before Women’s Day but lack of water forced a local woman at Sekhukhune to go and do washing at Semene river. While other women enjoy the 9 August 2019, she will be tired as a result of spending the whole day from taking the water from the river using a bucket, pouring into the washing basins, washing the clothes and  collecting the water again to rinse the clothes and she is few meters from the river to wash without disturbances from animals.

She won’t be able to hang the clothes on the smaller trees to dry but will have to take them home while wet and she walks a distance from the river. Some of the cows that drink water from the river eat clothes and there is dust on the trees since August is not a rain month in Sekhukhune. She wont celebrate women’s day like others because having no water make her life difficult.

Congestion during SASSA payouts compromised lockdown regulations

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The 6th of May was the last day of the SASSA pay outs.The roads were so packed and there was too much chaos due to people and traffic congestion. The scary part about this was that nobody seemed to be caring about the spread of COVID-19 as some of the people were not putting on masks and not following the 2 meter distancing. I am one of the concerned people about the Coronavirus lockdown going back to stage 5 as there are some people who thinks this pandemic we are faced with is a joke yet everyday we are updated about new cases and deaths caused by this virus.

Meanwhile, at Imbali Crossing there was a road block where all travelers were stopped and asked where they were going,what are they going to do there and were expected to produce permits. Most of the people were asked to go back because they didn’t have permits yet others did have permits and were told either that it’s not the ones they want or they are not specific enough and people who were going to collect Sassa pay outs had to issue their IDs and SASSA cards as proof. People who were going to purchase groceries and buy essentials were also told to go and get permits for that. My worry is where are we going to get permits to buy groceries?

Teenage Pregnancy and HIV

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Having a child at a young age is a major problem for you women. Young women experience a lot of pressure from boyfriends and older men for unprotected sex. They do not appear strong enough to resist this pressure. The result is that their education comes to an end, they have greater financial burdens and risk STI’s and HIV.

“The department of education has introduced life skills in schools as part of the curriculum, the department of health and other organizations has been involved in educating young woman about safe sex, condom use, STis and pregnancy. Despite that effort young women drop schools because they are pregnant. Some young as 15-16 years reported the father of their babies they are the same age while some said they have older boy friends”

“The worst part is that the leave school because they are very shy and their partners continue with their education while the sitting at home. You lucky if you only get pregnant in some is a double blow because they find out they are HIV positive”

“Despite teachings at school that has to do with life skills to make young woman to choose a better way of living many of which they get caught in a situation that they are promised money by their boyfriends to only sleep with them and don’t use protection.”

“ The hurting part is these young woman know what must be done but because someone has uttered the word money and the everything stops, they forget what was taught in class for life skills goes together with self-control or self-discipline and if none of these will be remembered in the heat of the moment that’s when  many of the young woman find themselves in a situation that is uncalled for and become parents at an early age.”

“Many of the young woman end dropping out from school because of they are ashamed to be seen pregnant at that age although self-discipline is there but it depends on how is used to be able to safe guard themselves from being teen mother’s as well as single parents at that age and end up giving up school, having low self-esteem and depressed because of the situation that they are now single parents and teen’s, think that there are no more opportunities for them because they are drop outs, one mistake that many of the parents don’t do is to be talk with these young woman so that what they learn or taught at school should build inside and that self-discipline should be released from within.”

Activist call for a clear communication strategy when it comes to COVID-19

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I am Amo Tshabalala in Sefikile Village North West Province under Moses Kotane Local Municipality. I think that is not fair for alliterate people as everything has happened so fast. It has affected us activists and everyone in the community so negatively. The illeterate people while they are still trying to understand what is this corona virus then the lockdown is effected and they don’t even know what lockdown is or what it means. Now we have to explain as community activists but its difficult since we can’t be seen outside along the road or anywhere for that matter without a serious reason. In my community/village they take everything serious even though they didn’t hear what you said exactly but they do what they think you said and in this case it is lockdown and they are indoors. People who are depending on piece jobs its hard for them now to put bread on the table as we all know that no unnecessary movement is allowed. Builders also got affected by this lockdown too as they also can’t do anything and we all know what that means, no food on the table again. Now, how many homes have no food on the table because of corona virus?

COVID 19 PLAN/STRATEGY
Every information should be written or given in indigenous languages but now I think everything has gone too much to social media and my concern is what about the illiterate people, those who can’t afford smart phones, and those who can’t afford data to get the info about corona virus? Information should be accessible by all including those in rural areas. We should work together and make sure that we are safe. #stayhomeandsafeyourfamily.

Community Health Care workers during COVID-19

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By Dorothy Mabelebele

Community Health Care Workers (CHWs) plays an important part in the delivering of health care services to communities. CHWs have been crucial in health care system through various programmes including testing and preventing HIV and TB, treatment adherence as well a health promotion.

Sisanda Kulima, a CHW from an informal settlement called Lawley Clinic in Johannesburg, Gauteng has been a CHW for more than 10 years in which she participated in fighting for CHWs rights that were violated by the Department of Health. The Department of Health has been running around with the issues of making the CHWs permanent. Meanwhile CHWs are earning a stipend of R3,500 which Kulima said it is not enough for them because they risks their lives, visiting ill people in the communities daily without enough protection from any diseases.

The Department of Health announced that CHWs will be assisting in tracking and tracing COVID-19 cases but they didn’t give assurance of safety to these workers. It is unclear how the department is going to protect the CHWs in a situation with the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). “We have started with the screening for COVID-19 on 15 April 2020 at Fine Town in Johannesburg”, said Kulima.

There is a Petition making rounds on the social media about the Community Health Workers who are on the frontline who must be permanently employed and the petition was created by Change.org
Follow the link to sign the petition: http://chng.it/Dpz9wy9B

Porters exposed to the deadly virus

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by Rapule Moiloa

Talking to someone close to me about the work that he does as a Porter, he expressed his worry about his exposure to the virus. He works at a certain hospital as a porter in Soweto and he is equally exposed to the virus just like nurses and doctors. He is worried by the fact that many people forget that people who work as porters are also in the frontline and are exposed to the virus for they are the ones receiving patients regardless of the nature of their sickness. The work environment has also changed tremendously due to COVID- 19 because previously they would receive patients with out fear of contracting any disease. Although they are given Protective gear, wheel chairs and stretchers are not disinfected increasing their vulnerability to the deadly virus.

COVID-19 depriving security forces of their family time

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by Nonkosi in Braamfisher in Soweto…On Monday 12 April four liquor traders were arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act of 2020 by selling liquor and cigarettes during the lock down. This shows that people are no taking COVID-19 seriously.

One of the soldiers we interfaced with was so frustrated by people of Braamfisher’s behavior. I laughed and said at least you are making money and we SAPS members are getting not anything. He said you are fortunate because you are able to see your family. “I’m home sick and if people don’t listen and behave like this,we will be deployed and stay in our camps till this is over. Money won’t make up for the time lost with our family” said the soldier.
Its the little things that we take for granted that matters more. We are working for long hours forcing people to stay home for their safety. It is unfortunate that street vendors can’t operate their business and the extension of the lock down means that they won’t be able to provide for their families. Every time I go back home I am afraid that I can infect my family. To keep them safe. At least the little that people can do is to stay at home. Nonetheless, I would like to thank our petrol attendants who are rendering services to the essential workers.