Bisho - Addressing the shortage of medical practitioners in the Eastern Cape, Premier Oscar Mabuyane said his administration was in the process of establishing the second medical school and veterinary school in the province by the end of the year.
Mabuyane was delivering his State of the Province Address at the Bisho legislature.
Mabuyane said the schools will be opened in the Nelson Mandela University and the University of Fort Hare respectively, "to respond to the issue of shortage of doctors in the province".
"Two months ago, the previous Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, issued the much-awaited letter providing approval from the Department of Health for Nelson Mandela University to establish the tenth Medical School in the country," Mabuyane said.
Mabuyane said they had a special appeal to the councils, management and alumni of both the Walter Sisulu University and Forth Hare to return these institutions to normality.
"They are becoming famous for all the wrong things these days which is contrary to their history of being centres of knowledge and innovation," Mabuyane said.
He said higher education also needed decisive interventions. "In partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training, we will engage on curriculum development of our TVETs colleges and issues of shortage of residences in higher education, which is accompanied by generally poor infrastructure".
"We are also going to ensure the optimal utilisation of the twinning programs, both at the level of our universities, basic education, municipalities and even countries with the same model of education, especially at the level of the TVET sector," he said.
Mabuyane said the delivery of the health mandate in the Province has to contend with the serious challenge of medico-legal claims. "We are going to address the matter in an integrated manner with different stakeholders including Health, Education, Law enforcement and other key role players in order to reduce the risk to the fiscus".
However, he said that does not stop them from ensuring a constant supply of nurses into the healthcare system, together with the provision of technologically advanced equipment to prevent new claims during this term.
"Between now and March 2020, we are going to speed up the process of appointing 500 unemployed nurses to support our healthcare centres. Similarly, we are going to drive the employment of 300 support staff including porters, cleaners, laundry, kitchen and grounds staff to ensure that clinics and hospitals maintain health standards, " Mabuyane said.