The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) will join South Africans in celebrating International Nurses Day on 12 May 2013. “IMATU represents nurses and midwives in the municipal sector and tomorrow represents a chance to celebrate these healthcare practitioners and the contributions they make to our health sector on a daily basis,” said IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.
IMATU believes in realising the goal of access to quality health care for all South Africans, however in order to achieve this goal the Government must take the lead in providing effective strategies and implementation plans. IMATU believes that the International Council of Nurses’ chosen theme this year, ‘Closing the Gap: Millennium Goals’, is particularly relevant to the South Africa’s health care sector. International Nurses Day will be used as a platform to highlight three of the health care related millennium development goals namely: the reduction in child mortality, improvement in maternal health and the combating of HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases.
“Our nurses are integral to the successful improvement of our healthcare system. They are often the first port of call for all patients and are a key element in ensuring early detection and diagnosis of serious health problems,” said Koen.
While celebrating the good work that our nurses and midwives do, IMATU believes that significant improvement within all levels of healthcare in South Africa must take place. IMATU members have flagged numerous concerns relating to the public health sector including poor working conditions, under resourced staff, vacancies and ineffective management. There is also a specific focus on National Health Insurance (NHI) implementation and IMATU is closely monitoring the Department of Health’s current piloting of the NHI in ten selected districts.
“Any health care reform that takes place going forward must focus on eradicating the systemic problems in the current public health system such as poor management, deteriorating infrastructure, equipment shortages, unavailability of prescription drugs, corruption, theft, governance and poor accountability,” concluded Koen.