Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is expected to address the issue of aging infrastructure, regular shortages of medicine and long queues faced by public hospitals in Durban, KwaZulu Natal.

The minister is expected to prioritise health care, as it is a basic human right, while keeping government expenditure under control, introducing cost-saving measures and addressing the significant challenges within the health sector, during national budget address.

In KwaZulu-Natal, a number of public health institutions have come under the spotlight for issues relating to under-staffing, overcrowding and a lack of resources and the minister is expected to address these.

Meanwhile, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has highlighted a number of demands that they expect the finance minister to address.

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Secretary of Nehawu Ayanda Zulu says, “From now onwards, lift the moratorium and make sure that all the vacant funded posts must be filled immediately, more especially both the clinical and the non-clinical. The second part will be for the minister to announce that they are going to invest more into infrastructure.  Addington Hospital and the likes of Mshiyeni Hospital and quite a number of hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal do not have even the lifts – the infrastructure is old.”

“We expect that the government will invest more on equipment. We have heard reports here at Addington. We were informed that patients, especially those who are suffering from cancer, have been in and out – not getting treatment. We expect the Minister of Finance to make a public announcement that all the outsourced services like your security, cleaning are going to be in-sourced,” added Zulu.

Some patients believe that the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) will help improve the services they receive.

The NHI is a health financing system that is designed to pool funds to provide access to quality affordable personal health services for all South Africans based on their health needs, irrespective of their socio-economic status.

NHI is intended to ensure that the use of health services does not result in financial hardship for individuals and their families and seeks to realise universal health coverage for all South Africans, and has been implemented in phases from 2012.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni expected to address medicine shortages in hospitals.