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 CAPE TOWN – The Democratic Nursing Organisation of sa (Denosa) notes the Medium-term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) delivered by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, especially on the commitment to make available R350 million for the employment of 2 200 health professionals, including the additional R150m to procure urgently needed items such as beds in health facilities.

While this number is far from making a meaningful and tangible positive impact in the health outcomes for South Africans, it will certainly go a long way as shortage of health workers is giving rise to an overburdened healthcare system that is not responding as adequately and speedily to the needs of patients as it should.

We hope this commitment will also be accompanied by a proactive approach by the National Department of Health in making sure that the posts get filled as speedily as possible. We have been following this commitment from the time the President Cyril Ramaphosa pronounced on it when he announced it as intervention that will form part of the country’s economic stimulus package. It is commendable that it has also found expression in the MTBPS. It also came out prominently during the Presidential Health Summit held this past weekend.

Once again, the shortage of health professionals in the country’s healthcare system is something that as Denosa we have consistently been highlighting as the biggest threat to the quality of health for patients.  

Once more, we reiterate that tackling the shortage of health professionals like nurses is a target that should be a low hanging fruit for both government and private healthcare. In provinces like the Free State, hundreds of qualified nurses are sitting at home while staff shortage in facilities is so severe that patients are subjected to a compromised service.

Because the devil is in the detail, we await with baited breath the plan that the National Department of Health will put up in this regard.

Furthermore, Denosa is pleased with the inclusion of sanitary pads as part of the zero-rated items.

This is a commendable health promotive step that could well have positive spin-offs for many school-going young girls from disadvantaged homes.