The city of Johannesburg has in recent times been faced with mass exit of its health workers especially the nurses leading to the city’s demand for about 150 nurses.
With an increased labor, escalating burden of disease and better salaries overseas being the major factors leading to the mass exodus of health workers, health department in the city of Joburg has been forced to resort to using temporary contract nurses “as a stopgap to mitigate the risk”.
This it stated in a document served to the city council earlier this month. Johannesburg’s health department admits to a “risk of staff shortages, especially among the nurses and medical doctors for quite some time”
The city’s spokes person, Nthatisi Modingoane said the city’s public health facilities needed more than 100 doctors and that the the city is faced with a constant battle of filling up those vacancies left by health professionals.
“The City of Johannesburg requires about 150 nurses in order to overcome further shortages. This has reduced from 220 from the previous financial year of 2014/15.” he said adding that not less than 20 doctors have been appointed between October to December last year (2015) which has reduced the shortfall of doctors.
“As nurses resign the positions are being filled immediately,” said Modingoane.
In the document served to the city council, the city’s health department further revealed that the state of affairs was compounded by inadequate funds meant to give the city a fighting chance to retain its health professionals.
Meanwhile, growing populations, changing disease patterns and economic trends has been attributed to the main factors leading to the creation of about 40 million new health sector jobs by 2030, mostly in middle and high-income countries. Conversely, there will be a projected shortage of 18 million health workers to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, mostly in low- and lower-middle income countries.
In a meeting between the Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth held in GENEVA, 23 March 2016, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan urged countries of the world to re direct most policies towards a greater health sector but as a source of opportunities.
“Employment in the health sector can operate as a counter force to the world’s growing inequalities in income levels and opportunities,” she noted.
The Commission which was co-chaired by Mr François Hollande, President of France, and Mr Jacob Zuma, agreed to study new actions through which governments, professional associations, trade unions, the private sector and other stakeholders can leverage health employment to unlock social and economic gains and better health for all
Current figures on the shortage of health professionals in South Africa revealed that the country needed 14351 doctors and 44780 nurses – while Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi pointed out that local medical schools produced just more than 1000 doctors annually.