In­tern doc­tors ask UN, WHO to help them get work

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - NABEELAH SHAIKH

UN­EM­PLOYED South African in­tern doc­tors who have been left in limbo for six months, have taken their con­cerns to the UN and the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO).

This week, one of the doc­tors ad­dressed a letter to the sec­re­tary gen­eral of the UN and the di­rec­tor gen­eral of the WHO ask­ing for ur­gent in­ter­ven­tion on be­half of more than 90 Dur­ban in­terns.

Last year, the WHO launched Global Strat­egy for Hu­man Re­sources: Work­force 2030, which aims to train 40 mil­lion doc­tors and health- care work­ers world­wide. Eigh­teen mil­lion need to be in Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa.

The un­em­ployed in­terns want to know how the gov­ern­ment ex­pects to achieve this goal when it can­not pro­vide jobs for them. Su-Jana Bas­son, who wrote the letter on be­half of the in­tern doc­tors, said in her letter:

“I am afraid that South Africa can­not af­ford to pay its own doc­tors – yet we are tak­ing in more med­i­cal stu­dents at uni­ver­si­ties but once we qual­ify, we can­not work as the gov­ern­ment is not em­ploy­ing us. It has been six-and-a-half months now since we have been un­em­ployed and our Depart­ment of Health keeps promis­ing that they will place us but we be­lieve the min­is­ter is ly­ing and is not be­ing hon­est with us. We be­lieve that there are no funds to pay us,” said Bas­son.

She said it was not only qual­i­fied doc­tors with­out work, but also nurses, physio- ther­a­pists, speech ther­a­pists, oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pists and other al­lied health-care pro­fes­sion­als.

Independent Me­dia has seen a list of more than 200 un­em­ployed health-care work­ers na­tion­ally.

“Yet our hospi­tals are so short staffed and health pro­fes­sion­als who are cur­rently em­ployed are over­worked and work­ing un­der ex­tremely stress­ful con­di­tions. We would like to know why there is a cri­sis as we were trained to be doc­tors and now we can­not use our skills to work in our com­mu­ni­ties,” Bas­son wrote.

Dr Ru­faro Cha­tora, the WHO rep­re­sen­ta­tive for South Africa, re­ceived Bas­son’s letter and said, glob­ally, is­sues re­lated to pro­duc­tion, em­ploy­ment and util­i­sa­tion of the health work­force re­mained a pri­or­ity is­sue that needed to be ad­dressed if the health sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goal tar­gets are to be met.

He said the 2030 work­force com­mis­sion pro­poses am­bi­tious so­lu­tions to en­sure the world has the right num­ber of health work­ers with the right skills and in the right places.

How­ever, Health Min­is­ter Dr Aaron Mot­soaledi said no doc­tor could claim to be un­em­ployed, as all in­terns had been placed.

He said doc­tors had re­jected work­ing in cer­tain ar­eas and then claimed to be un­em­ployed.

“If they tell me they are un­em­ployed, 141 doc­tors are needed in Lim­popo and I can send them there tomorrow, but the prob­lem is that they do not want to go and work in those ar­eas. Most of them give rea­sons such as mar­riage and reli­gion,” said Mot­soaledi.

He also said the depart­ment had ver­i­fied the lists cir­cu­lat­ing and that most on the lists were em­ployed while some had re­jected of­fers made to them.

He said a sec­ond list of for­eign un­em­ployed doc­tors had been cir­cu­lat­ing but the depart­ment was not com­pelled to em­ploy for­eign doc­tors as most of the min­is­ters of their coun­tries had given Mot­soaledi in­struc­tions for them to re­turn to train in their own coun­tries be­cause they were needed in their home coun­tries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.