About 237 student nurses are likely to join the provincial health sector before the end of this month. That’s according to Premier David Mabuza at the oral reply session in the legislature in Nelspruit on Thursday.
Mabuza was responding to questions from ANC MPL Mishack Malinga, who asked him about a shortage of health workers.
“South Africa has a serious shortage of health workers, namely, doctors and nurses,” said Malinga. “We appreciate the fact that towards the end of 2011 a call was made for applications for those who want to become student nurses.”
“Can the honourable premier indicate as to how many student nurses were recruited as per district in the province?
In his response, Mabuza said:“A total of 237 student nurses were recruited from the province. Nkangala 55, Gert Sibande 55, Ehlanzeni and Bohlabela districts. Together, 127 were recruited.
“A total of 120 new comprehensive programme students will graduate in June. In addition, 190 will have completed the bridging course from staff nurse to registered nurse; 154 will have completed the midwifery programme and 38 will qualify for the primary health care programme,” Mabuza said.
In an effort to address the shortage of nurses, social workers and doctors in the province, Mabuza said that there were plans in place to improve the healthcare system.
“As government, we are utilising a multi-pronged approach relating to the issue in question. The department of health and social development continues to award bursaries to attract new recruits in all those areas identified as scarce skills in the sector.
“We are using the Cuba medical programme as another avenue to augment the supply of doctors in Mpumalanga,” said Mabuza.
He said they also applied a head-hunting initiative in the case of skills that were scarce to acquire. He said that there was a scholarship programme initiated by the national Department of Social Development aimed at addressing this challenge.
“The national department provides bursaries to students on condition that they will go back and serve communities in their respective provinces. The department has since absorbed 157 students,” said Mabuza.
“As we speak, there are 314 students who are studying at different levels,” he said.
» About 237 student nurses to be deployed to Mpumalanga health facilities
» Recruited from Nkangala 55, Gert Sibande 55, Ehlanzeni and Bohlabela districts together 127
» 120 new comprehensive programme students will graduate in June