As the international community celebrates nurses, calls have been made to better appreciate nurses and invest in the nursing profession to strengthen health systems.
These calls have been made as the globe celebrates International Nurses Day under the theme: “Nurses: A voice to lead – Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health” on Thursday.
Hospersa, a union representing healthcare workers (predominantly nurses) in the public and private health sector, has demanded better appreciation for nurses, the retention of temporary nursing staff, increased remuneration and investments in the country’s public health sector.
“Nurses continue being the glue that holds the health sector together amid the lack of appreciation from their employers,” said Hospersa General Secretary, Waheed Hoosen.
Hoosen added that the union was concerned by the decreased budget allocation for the public health sector after the government decided to slash budget allocation for the Department of Health by close to 2% over the next two financial years.
“The Minister’s admission of an insufficient budget allocation has all but normalised the many challenges faced by the department. As a result, nurses will be at the receiving end of public criticism when they cannot deliver a quality health care service,” argued Hoosen.
He said to show appreciation for nurses bravery, the government needs to invest more in the profession.
The Public Servants Association (PSA) also urged the government to speed up investing in nurses as the public sector continues to lose skilled workers.
“The PSA notes that nurses are undervalued and under compensated, driving many of them to seek greener pastures. The nursing profession is characterised by compassion, but is suffering owing to ineffective leadership, poor administration, and poor planning,” the association said.
The PSA said the situation was increasingly impacting on nurses' health and morale.
“Investing in nursing will not only boost the morale of these workers but will also attract young people to this profession to ensure sustainable service delivery. Empowering these professionals will lead to improved service delivery for all citizens,” the association said.