Gauteng health department lauds nurses as anchors of health sector for International Nurses Day

Gauteng Department of Health honoured nurses as the backbones within the healthcare industry amid International Nurses Day. Picture: GDoH (Facebook)

Gauteng Department of Health honoured nurses as the backbones within the healthcare industry amid International Nurses Day. Picture: GDoH (Facebook)

Published May 13, 2024


Dressed in white, with distinguishing devices known as epaulettes on their shoulders, nurses assembled at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, to commemorate International Nurses Day on Sunday.

International Nurses Day is annually celebrated on May 12, and this year's theme intended to decipher the economic part of nursing, under the theme "Our nurses, our future. The economic power of care"

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH), together with the province's Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko and Health Minister, Joe Phaahla attended the event to honour the health practitioners.

Nkomo-Ralehoko hailed the work of nurses, saying the profession plays a very critical role in the health sector.

"This day is not just a celebration, but reaffirmation of your respect and admiration for the critical work nurses do. Your presence cannot only be highlighted in this event, but underscores the solidarity and collective efforts that characterise our pursuit of health excellence in the province," she said.

Meanwhile, acting Head of Department for GDoH Lesiba Malotana emphasised that nurses are the anchor of the health industry, especially in the midst of health challenges that pose a threat to civil society, therefore, they deserve to be honoured.

"We willingly joined the profession and took an oath. Nurses are the voice, the hand, comforter and represent the poorest members of society," said Malotana.

He further said nurses are bound by the nurse’s oath, referred to as the Nurses Pledge, that is why the profession remains recognised and admirable for its patient-centric approach.

Although the profession is esteemed of high rank, the president for Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) Simon Hlungwani said this year's theme entails there is a paramount need for investing and maintenance of healthcare infrastructure, including increasing the number of training professional nurses.

For the 2024/25 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), Finance minister Enoch Godongwana set aside R848 billion for the health sector, of which, R27.3 bn will go towards improving and maintaining infrastructure.

In a statement, DENOSA cited the International Council of Nurses Report for 2024, that poor healthcare costs the global economy about 15% Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The nurse’s organisation concurred with the report that continuous investment for adequate healthcare will boost global GDP by 8%.

"The report states this can only be achieved if governments recognised that such investments in nursing is not a cost. The report is showing that investing in healthcare saves money and expands economies, because people will not spend longer times in healthcare facilities.

“They will be out there in the world of work, being productive and providing for their families while contributing to the economic growth of their countries," said Hlungwani.

Additionally, the South African Nursing Council (SANC) reported in 2020 that nurses face immense pressure due to the high number of patients, whereas there is a shortfall for nurses.

SANC noted 280 000 nurses are licensed to practise in the country, which equates to 213 patients per nurse. Yet the irony, 20 000 qualified nurses remain unemployed.

The Star

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