The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) will join South Africans in celebrating International Nurses Day today, 12 May 2016. “IMATU represents nurses and midwives in the municipal sector and today provides a platform to celebrate these health care 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, with a particular focus on strengthening and supporting primary healthcare at a local government level. The International Council of Nurses’ chosen theme this year, Nurses: A Force for Change: Improving health systems’ resilience, is particularly important as the decisions nurses make every day, collectively affect the country’s entire health care system.
The resilience of a health care system relies on the efficiency and effectiveness of its health care workers. Nurses, as the single largest profession in the health workforce, are well positioned to drive this force for change.
“While celebrating the good work that our nurses and midwives do, we believe that significant improvement within all levels of healthcare in South Africa must take place in order to achieve equitable quality healthcare for all. Our members in the public healthcare sector have flagged concerns relating to challenging working conditions, under resourced staff, limited stocks of prescription medication and ineffective management,” explained Koen.
IMATU believes that any health care reform that takes place going forward must focus on eradicating the current systemic problems in the public health system such as poor management, deteriorating infrastructure, equipment and stock shortages and corruption.
“IMATU will be submitting our position on the White Paper on National Health Insurance for South Africa by the end of this month. Our belief is that a strengthened primary health care sector will not only improve the resilience of our health care system but also take positive steps towards improving access to quality health care for all,” concluded Koen.