Health sector unions cautious over Ramaphosa stimulus package

President Cyril Ramaphosa released details of his plan to revitalise the economy, part of that was to also fill over 2,000 critical medical posts.

Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital in Vosloorus. Picture: Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG - Unions in the health sector have questioned President Cyril Rampahosa’s stimulus package investing funding to immediately buy beds and linen, saying a quick fix won’t solve the overcrowding at hospitals.

On Friday, Ramaphosa released details of his plan to revitalise the economy, part of that was to also fill over 2,000 critical medical posts, including nurses and medical interns.

Last week, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that neonatal units across Gauteng are 132% overcrowded.

His comments came after six babies died at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus where Klebsiella broke out due to hospitals filled beyond its capacity.

Simon Hlungwani, president of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa, says much more is needed than simply adding beds, linen and filling a small number of vacant posts to revitalise the health sector.

“This should not be a quick fix, it needs proper planning. However, we welcome with caution the initiative in making an effort in addressing the problem,” says Hlungwani.

The spokesperson for the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, Khaya Xaba, agrees that much more needs to be invested to turn around the sector for good.

“We need more medicine, better infrastructure and motivated staff and personnel. Of course, that also speaks of issues of better working conditions.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)