As the world celebrates International Nurses Day, nurses in South Africa have urged the government to invest in the profession which is already facing shortages.
It is estimated that there’s a shortage of 5,9 million nurses globally with South Africa also facing a 30 000 shortage by 2030.
Nursing union, Denosa says government needs to devise a sound strategy to avoid an already looming crisis with many nurses opting to go abroad for better working conditions.
Denosa President Simon Hlungwani was speaking at the union’s international nurses day celebration in Pretoria.
“I have said the UK has planned through the national health services, have committed to come and recruit in Africa. Their target is not to get no less than 50 000 nurses starting from this year, and it will be easy they will just put money and nurses will be migrating to the UK for better conditions. SA will produce, as it happens now, the government will invest in your degree/diploma and does community service. Government invests in five years of your training.”
Free State nurse shortages
The termination of services of nurses who were on contract has created massive shortages in the Free State. The second president of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA), Thandeka Msibi has appealed to the Health MEC to assist nurses by employing more staff.
She says nurses cannot be effective when they are overworked and fatigued especially following the past two years when they were at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic fight.
She was speaking at the provincial celebrations of International Nurses Day. Nurses across the province have gathered at the Kingdom Academic Ministry in Welkom to mark this day.
VIDEO: International Nurses Day – Nursing union Denosa commemorates healthcare workers
Mpumalanga nurses commitment
Nurses in Mpumalanga have committed to continue working hard and save the lives of the people among others. The commitment was made during the International Nurses Day event in Mbombela.
About 1000 nurses attended the event to mark this day. The nurses say despite the challenges faced by the sector, saving lives remains a priority for them.
“Nurses have been on the forefront of the pandemic and this day, we are using it as nurses to debrief, relook and revive our spirit and push forward in caring for the nation, you can’t just do nursing for the sake of doing it, you need to be caring. So that fulfils me knowing that I am giving that love, that care to someone who needs it,” a nurse explains.
Challenges in Eastern Cape
Denosa in the Eastern Cape says there is nothing to celebrate on this International Nurses Day as they face unaddressed challenges.
International Nurses Day is being marked at the Madzikane KaZulu memorial hospital in Kwa Bhaca. Denosa’s Provincial Chairperson, Sivuyule Mange says there are many challenges due to austerity measures.
“However the challenges that nurses are experiencing, we are not in a celebratory mode. Because of challenges we are facing at the Department of Health, be it at national level or provincial level, we are facing similar challenges of which those challenges are from austerity measures put in place by Treasury,” says Mange.
VIDEO: International Nurses Day – Eastern Cape Health department celebrates healthcare workers:
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town says these frontline workers need to be honoured by residents presenting themselves for vaccinations.
The day commemorates the birth of Florence Nightingale who is considered the founder of modern day nursing. Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Patricia van der Ross, says the city’s nurses have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 battle.
“With the approach of the fifth wave, and with a steady increase in the number of positive COVID cases, I appeal to our residents to give back to these frontline heroes by getting vaccinated. In the last year, our nurses saw an average of 225 653 clients a month. Nurses are often the only health professionals accessible to many people in their lifetime. I want to wish our nurses a Happy Nurses Day to all the nurses who take the front rows in the battles against pandemics like true warriors,” says van der Ross.