Friday, 23 February, 2024
HomeFocusShortage of medical staff ‘keenly felt’ in SA

Shortage of medical staff ‘keenly felt’ in SA

A shortage of doctors and nurses is a ‘global crisis’ that is keenly felt in SA. [s]The Times[/s] reports that with the country annually producing less than half of the doctors needed – only 1,200 doctors graduate each year – SA is part of a global shortage of 4.3m doctors and nurses. Citing an article, [i]Global Supply of Health Professionals[/i], in the [s]New England Journal of Medicine[/s], the report paints a dire picture of how the shortage leaves the poor least likely to get access to doctors and how populations are becoming sicker due to an epidemic of lifestyle diseases. [b]Department of Health[/b] spokesperson [b]Joe Maila[/b] is quoted as saying that the department was ‘concerned’ about the shortage of medical professionals. ‘The global shortage of doctors is worrying. It especially affects countries in Southern Africa.’ Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the fewest doctors and the highest disease burden, the report says.

[i]In a bid to meet SA’s pressing healthcare needs[/i], [b]Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande[/b] has announced the establishment this year of a new health and allied sciences university that will 'align itself with national priorities', including the pending implementation of the [b]National Health Insurance Scheme (NHI)[/b], by making available more professional healthcare programmes. [s]Business Day[/s] reports that the university will be located on the site of the [b]Medunsa[/b] campus of the [b]University of Limpopo[/b] in Ga-Rankuwa, Gauteng. Nzimande said a dedicated higher education institution with a varied set of professional programmes would be able to achieve SA’s healthcare needs. [b]Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi[/b] warned last month that the roll-out of the NHI would not succeed if the shortage of doctors was not addressed. Nzimande said that based on recommendations and advice provided by a joint task team from the departments of Higher Education and Training, and Health, it was decided to establish the university.

[i]]Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi[/b] has acknowledged that although much has been achieved, SA’s health care system still has a long way to go[/i]. He is quoted in [s]City Press[/s] as saying that 40% of the current 4,000 health facilities were created since 1994, and the issue of accessibility to all public hospitals had also been addressed. Commenting on the [b]NHI[/b] system, he said: ‘Financing health care has always been in favour of the rich and a punishment to poor people.’ Motsoaledi noted that in terms of the Constitution, health care was a right for everyone and the state should do everything within its available resources to make sure this right was realised.

[link url=http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2014/03/13/is-there-a-doctor-in-the-house]Full report in The Times[/link]
[link url=http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1111610]Full NEMJ article[/link]
[link url=http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/health/2014/03/12/new-health-university-to-help-address-shortage-of-healthcare-workers]Full Business Day report[/link]
[link url=http://www.citypress.co.za/news/journey-still-long-health-sa-aaron-motsoaledi]Full City Press report[/link]

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