In an attempt to address the chronic shortage of doctors and nurses in the Eastern Cape, the provincial Department of Health has recruited more than 100 doctors. They will be despatched to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, the East London hospital complex and clinic across the province.
A total of 742 doctors, pharmacists and nurses have just finished their studies through the department’s assistance. The province has experienced a severe shortage of doctors and pharmacists especially in rural health facilities.
East London Complex CEO, Rolene Wagna says, “In the Eastern Cape for example, we’ve got one doctor per 6 000 people and when you go to a country like Serbia there is one doctor per 500 to 600 people. So if you compare, they’ve got the same GDP and here we have a severe shortage of doctors and nurses.”
The move is a welcome boost for the ailing healthcare system in the country.
Some of the doctors come from the government’s Cuban medical programme, bursary recipients and those doing internships. Government has an on-going programme for attracting young people to the health profession and improving working conditions and benefits.
Hospitals in the province have been plagued by problems ranging from non-payment of staff to a shortage of doctors and pharmacists.