File picture - Professional nurses at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic hospital. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - Africa Health Placements (AHP) and the SA Nursing Council (SANC) have agreed to work together in a new drive to promote the recruitment of nurses.

“This agreement will assist in solving the country's shortage of nurses, which is severe, especially in our rural areas,” they said on Tuesday after signing a memorandum of understanding.

“Almost half of South Africa's population lives in these areas, but they are served by only 19 percent of the country's nurses,” they said.

AHP CEO Saul Kornik said more than 1400 foreign doctors had been recruited through the council's relationship with the Health Professions Council of SA.

“We expect our partnership with SANC to be just as fruitful.”

Kornik said AHP would provide a full-time administrative staff member to SANC's foreign-qualified nurse registration department.

This person would help process applications and pre-screen applicants, and ensure that only complete documentation was submitted to SANC.

Kornik said the country did not have enough healthcare workers, and foreign nurses were needed to provide quality care to patients.

SANC registrar Tendani Mabuda said the partnership would make the registration process more efficient.

It would also make South Africa better able to attract skilled personnel without compromising quality and nursing standards.

“ 1/8We 3/8 will ensure no special preference is given to applications received from AHP over applications received directly by SANC. Applications will be dealt with on the principle of first in, first out,” he said. - Sapa