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SA battling to retain and hire doctors due to budget restraints

By Yethu Dlamini Time of article published Oct 22, 2019

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The National Health Department has attributed the shortage of doctors at public hospitals to budget restraints.

The department said because their national budget has not been increasing in the last 10 years, it has been hard to hire and retain doctors in the public health system.

This was revealed by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in a written reply to questions by the Freedom Front Plus’ Philippus van Staden, a member of the portfolio committee on health.

Van Staden asked the minister questions relating to the shortage of doctors in the country and the training of doctors in Cuba whereas the state had universities that can provide necessary training.

Responding to Van Staden, Mkhize said the primary reason South Africa has a shortage of doctors and nurses was that: “The public health sector budget has not been increasing in real terms for the past 10 years, impacting on the number of staff that can be appointed.”

Mkhize said the demand for health services was increasing while there was no additional funding to address the change.

Mkhize said the shortage of health professionals was a global phenomenon which was more pronounced in low and middle income countries as health workers were more inclined to migrate to upper middle income countries in search of better living and working conditions.

With regards to the Cuban programme, Mkhize said the aim was to expose medical doctors to a preventative approach to healthcare which was the cornerstone of the public health system in Cuba.

The Star

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