The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) will partner with provincial departments of health to commemorate International Nurses Day (IND) on Friday 12 May in six provinces amidst a number of challenges that the profession is faced with, which will make the role of nurses in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) almost impossible if they are not addressed with great speed.
The theme for this year’s International Nurses Day is: ‘Nurses: A Voice To Lead – Achieving Sustainable Development Goals’, which calls on all nurses throughout the world to do their bit in every SDG, as each is closely linked to health. It also calls on nurses to come forth and show the role they are playing in the achievement of every SDG.
The United Nations launched 17 SDGs in September 2015 as new goals for the world to strive to achieve by year 2030. Goal 1, for example, calls on the world to have No Poverty. Goal 2 calls for Zero Hunger. Goal 3, which is health related, calls for Good Health and Wellbeing among citizens.
Because other SDGs are closely linked to health and are what we term Social Determinants of Health (SDH), achievement of other goals will almost automatically or indirectly lead to the achievement of SDG 3 which talks to health.
DENOSA is proud that in South Africa, nurses are committed to achieving the SDGs. For example, many nurses especially in our rural facilities go an extra mile in their work by embarking on nutritious and gardening projects, as shown in the photo below:
DENOSA cordially invites members of the media to our commemoration of International Nurses Day in six provinces on Friday 12 May 2017 and Report. Thousands of nurses, who are majority health professionals in the country’s healthcare system, will grace the event with their presence in each province as they commemorate the birth of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing.
For Media RSVP or for more information on the provincial commemorations, contact DENOSA Communications Manager, Sibongiseni Delihlazo on 072 584 4175 or 079 875 2663
Challenges faced by nurses
The challenges faced by nurses, however, are forever increasing, which makes it almost impossible for them to become as effective in achieving these SDGs. In Sub-Saharan Africa, which is burdened by high rate of diseases and illnesses among its people, the gross shortage of nurses at bedside is alarming. This gives no chance to nurses to be able to perform these other tasks that will help achieve other Goals.
Great and possible intervention by our government is desperately needed in this regard. Overhaul of provincial health department’s HR will become a real solution in this challenge. Mass exodus of nurses for greener pastures is slowly becoming another challenge that places the achievement of the goals as a further dream. Staff recruitment and retention mechanisms need to be the top priority for governments. Proper planning for intake of students nurses and utilization of their service when they finish should not be a problem.
Occupation-Specific Dispensation (OSD), which was a great recruitment and retention strategy by government in 2007, which improved salaries of public servants the longer they stayed in government and perform and the more they acquired specialties, has since outlived its usefulness and has by far passed its sell-by-date. OSD for nurses should have been reviewed at least seven years ago. That has not happened, and there is no will that it will be reviewed anytime soon. More and more nurses now find no reason to stay in South Africa, and so they are leaving for greener pastures abroad. This challenge, if not resolved soon, will soon see SA with far fewer nurses than it already has.
As a result, many nurses have questioned the essence of celebrating this day in South Africa when there are so many challenges in the country’s healthcare that go for long without being resolved.
About provincial Commemorations
In four provinces, the celebrations will be held in Conjunction with the provincial Departments of Health where MECs will grace the events with their presence. These provinces are:
Eastern Cape – Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane on 12 May from 09h30.
North West – Rustenburg (Venue TBC) on 12 May from 09h30.
Mpumalanga – Word of God Church in Bushbuckridge on 12 May from 09h30.
Limpopo – Ngoako Ramatlhodi Sports Complex in Seshego on 12 May from 09h30.
Western Cape will host its event in Beaufort West on Saturday 13 May from 09h30.
Below is the schedule of provincial celebrations and contact people from DENOSA in those provinces.