DENOSA statement on International Nurses Day: Government must address the severe disruptions on the country's ...

Media statement 

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

PRETORIA - As today marks International Nurses Day (IND), the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) calls on the South African government to put clear strategy to address the gradual disruption that COVID-19 is causing on the country's healthcare system, which may end up being less responsive to the needs of many South Africans post- COVID-19.

At the core of this disruption in the healthcare service is the under-utilization of nursing skills and experience at the high decision-making echelons of many countries' healthcare systems despite the reality that healthcare systems globally are driven by majority healthcare professionals, nurses. 

This is the warning from the Survey Report for January 2021 that will be released today by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), which found that just under 40% of 105 countries that were surveyed (South Africa included) have their countries' Chief Nursing Officers sitting at the highest decision-making intervention structures to resolve crises like COVID-19, whereas 28% of the countries reported non-existence of the Chief Nursing Officers in their countries.

Furthermore, the Report found that specialised nurses in infection, prevention and control are less involved in decision-making teams, with only 44% countries indicating their involvement, which is a missed opportunity. 

The report also found that COVID-19 has resulted in severe disruption of healthcare services in various critical areas, namely:

-  About 70% reduction in community routine vaccination;

-  69% reduction in Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) service.  

-  61% reduction in treatment for mental health disorders; 

-  55% reduction in cancer diagnosis and treatment; 

-  46% reduction in malaria diagnosis and treatment;

-  42% reduction in TB detection and treatment; and

-  28 million routine surgeries cancelled. 

This drastic reduction in various services is due largely to reprioritization and redeployment of healthcare workers from these service areas to fighting COVID-19. 

DENOSA is concerned that South Africa's picture is no different to the findings of the ICN Report, and that the country is sitting on a ticking time-bomb as the effects of these reductions will further compound and worsen to a point where healthcare services won't be able to respond adequately. This will have negative impact on the economy since both economy and health are interlinked.  

The Survey Report recommends, for example, that building up an innovative and nurse-led model of care, involvement of Chief Nursing Officers and experienced specialist nurses, including expansion of frontline services, particularly Primary Health Care (PHC), will bring about Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The report also recommends that maintaining adequate levels of nursing staff and supporting facilities with sufficient resources will solve about half the battle because nurses account for 80% of contact between patients and healthcare professionals.

DENOSA believes that South Africa can learn greatly from these recommendations as it is currently in the red zone. Instead of expanding its healthcare staffing with nurses, it is cutting it further down. Instead of increasing its spending on health, it has relegated it to position number 4 in its recent budget allocation from position number 2 over the years.

South Africa is in a better position to be able to change its dangerous route; there are still nurses who are qualified and young and willing to work in South Africa, but they are sitting at home without jobs. There are nurses who have recently qualified after completing their community service who could be absorbed. 

Failure to follow these recommendations, however, will prove that the country has truly abandoned the National Health Insurance ideal as South Africa's form of Universal Health Coverage.

DENOSA will be commemorating this special day to the nursing profession, under this year's theme: "Nurses: A Voice To Lead - A Vision for Future Healthcare."

A national event will held at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria from 10h00 to 14h00, under strict COVID-19 protocols, and will be connecting with all nurses in provinces via Zoom in various healthcare facilities. 

In Mpumalanga, where DENOSA is collaborating with the Provincial Department of Health, nurses will gather at the Middelburg Banquet Hall from 10h00 to 14h00, where MEC and DENOSA Provincial leaders will address nurses. 


Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA).

For more information, contact:

Cassim Lekhoathi, Acting General Secretary.

Mobile: 082 328 9671

Simon Hlungwani, DENOSA President.

Mobile: 082 328 9635 

Sibongiseni Delihlazo, Communications Manager.

Mobile: 072 584 4175 

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DENOSA to host International Nurses Day commemoration event on 12 May at CSIR in Pretoria....


Thursday, 06 May 2021 
PRETORIA - As 12 May will mark International Nurses Day (IND), the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) will host a national event at the CSIR Convention Centre in Pretoria on the day to commorate this special day for the nurses. The commemoration will be live-streamed throughout the country where nurses in all facilities will be part of the event virtually.
This year's International Nurses Day is held under the theme: "Nurses: A Voice To Lead - A Vision for future healthcare", which will emphasize the need to invest in nursing as a backbone of healthcare, as COVID-19 has highlighted this need greatly in many countries like South Africa.
The day is hosted by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), a conglomeration of National Nursing Associations (NNA) like DENOSA, which represents South African nurses. DENOSA will host the event in South Africa on behalf of South African nurses, as it does annually.
Minister of Health,  Dr Zwelini Mkhize, will be part of the event and deliver the message of support on behalf of the South African government.
The event will be addressed by Vice-President of ICN, Ms Thembeka Gwagwa, and DENOSA President, Mr Simon Hlungwani. 
This year's event is held 15 months since the country was placed under COVID-19 lockdown. Since then, more than 1,5 million South Africans had been infected with COVID-19. Of this, more than 54 500 citizens have since been lost to the pandemic including more more than 800 healthcare workers, mostly nurses. Despite this, at least 95% is the recovery rate of those who have been infected, which talks to the hard work that nurses and many other healthcare professionals have had to put in to shield South Africans from the jaws of COVID-19 despite the many challenges that they still work under. 
And the war is not over as the country is bracing itself for the third wave of resurgence, at the time when healthcare workers are out of energy due to exhaustion. 
DENOSA is cordially inviting the media to attend this special  event for nurses, to be held both physically and virtually, as it will highlight many areas that the country needs to focus on in preparation for the next wave and future healthcare, straight from nurses themselves as frontliners.
Details of the event are as follows:
DATE: Wednesday, 12 May 2021 
VENUE: CSIR Convention Centre, Pretoria.
TIME: 10h00 -14h00.
MEDIA RSVP by no later than COB on Monday 10 May 2021: 
MEDIA RSVP CONTACT: Sibongiseni Delihlazo, Communications Manager: 072 584 4175.
COVID-19 Protocols will be strictly adhered to.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA).
For more information, contact: 
Sibongiseni Delihlazo, DENOSA Communications Manager
Mobile: 072 584 4175

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DENOSA response to the announcement by Health Minister to put the J&J vaccine rollout on hold. ...

Media statement 
Tuesday, 13 April 2021 
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) notes the announcement by Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, to put the country’s J&J vaccine rollout on hold temporarily as a precautionary measure in view of the new information from the US where six females developed a rare blood clotting disorder. 
While putting the rollout on pause would seem to be out of care and extra precaution and that no similar case has been recorded in South Africa, DENOSA hopes that the advisory committee in its meeting tomorrow will also look into strengthening the area of monitoring and putting mitigation measures in case we were to experience a similar case now or deep into the rollout. 
DENOSA is also pleased that the decision by minister followed consultation with the country’s community of science, which the country has been following guidance from.  
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)
For more information, contact:
Cassim Lekhoathi,  DENOSA Acting  General Secretary.
Mobile: 082 328 9671
Simon Hlungwani, DENOSA President.
Mobile: 082 328 9635
Sibongiseni Delihlazo, DENOSA spokesperson.
Mobile: 072 5844 175 

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Trauma Nursing Matters...

Evidence based practice: Is cricoid pressure effective in preventing gastric aspiration during rapid sequence intubation in the emergency department?

By Ntombifuthi Jennet Ngiba (BN) (UKZN).

There is on-going change within trauma nursing due to increased research in the area. Practices have been routinely adopted as the norm, but subsequently on further examination proven to be useless and more of a risk to the patient (Moore & Lexington, 2012). Research has brought into question practices or techniques such as the application of cricoid pressure during rapid sequence tracheal intubation. This practise was goaled at preventing the regurgitation of gastric content into the pharynx and subsequent aspiration into the pulmonary tree, but now questioned.

Cricoid pressure was briefly defined by Sellick in 1961 as a method used to reduce the risk of aspiration during the induction phase of anaesthesia. Sellick`s technique was to apply backwards pressure to the cricoid cartilage, compressing the oesophagus against the underlying vertebral body (Ellis, Harris & Zideman 2007; Priebe 2005). In this application of pressure the oesophageal lumen is occluded, preventing the passage of regurgitated gastric content into the pharynx and subsequent aspiration into the pulmonary tree (Stewart et al, 2014). Cricoid pressure is incorporated into the overall approach in reducing the chances of aspiration through rapid sequence induction of anaesthesia (Ellis et al., 2007; Priebe 2005). Over the years rapid sequence induction has been adapted by emergency physicians to allow ventilation as required to prevent hypoxia and subsequently termed “rapid sequence tracheal intubation”. Rapid sequence tracheal intubation (RSTI) is now the most widely used technique for tracheal intubation in the emergency department (ED) and cricoid pressure is taught as a standard component of emergency airway management (Ellis et al., 2007).

Despite inadequate scientific evaluation of the risks and benefits of cricoid pressure it is adopted as an integral component of rapid sequence intubation in EDs. No randomised controlled trials have shown any benefit of its use during rapid sequence intubation (Trethewy, Burrows, Clausen & Doherty, 2012). Furthermore, the application of cricoid pressure may be linked to increased risks to the patient such as  impeding airway management, prolonging intubation time by concealing laryngeal view, inducing nausea/vomiting and oesophageal rupture with excessive force (Ellis et al., 2007; Priebe 2005;Trethewy, et al, 2012). Paradoxically, cricoid pressure may promote aspiration by relaxing the lower part of the oesophagus (Ellis et al., 2007). Some case reports note that tracheal intubation was impeded by cricoid pressure and regurgitation occurred despite application of cricoid pressure, possibly due to its improper application (Trethewy, et al, 2012). According to Bhatia, Bhagat and Sen (2014) the application of cricoid pressure increases the incidence of lateral displacement of the oesophagus from 53% to 91%.

However despite this evidence and the outcome of Trethwy’s (2012) RCT the judicial system appears guided in its judgement by outdated practises. A judge in UK ruled against an anaesthesiologist for failing to apply cricoid pressure to a patient with irreducible hernia who had regurgitated and aspirated. The judge argued that “We cannot assert that cricoid pressure is not effective until trials have been performed, especially as it is an integral part of anaesthetic technique that has been associated with a reduced maternal death rate from aspiration since the 1960's” (Bhatia et al. 2014). Therefore one may say that despite cricoid pressure entering medical practice on limited evidence and only supported by common sense, it somehow remains the practice of choice (Bhatia et al., 2014).

Thus it is about time nurses and doctors embrace evidence-based practice within the emergency department and let go of traditional practice that are proven to do more harm than good. There is still a great need for further evidence-based practice within the emergency department, to investigate the validity of the notion that cricoid pressure prevents regurgitation.

Ntombifuthi Jennet Ngiba is a Professional Nurse at Greytown Hospital.


Bhatia N, Bhagat H & Sen I. (2014). Cricoid pressure: Where do we stand? J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol, Vol 30 pp 3 – 6.

Ellis D.Y, Harris T & Zideman D. (2007). Cricoid pressure in the emergency department rapid sequence tracheal intubations: a risk-benefit analysis. American College of emergency physicians.Vol 50, pp 653 – 665. 

Moore K & Lexington K.Y (2012). Evidence-based practise guidelines for trauma care. Journal of emergency nursing. Vol 38, pp 401-402.

Priebe H.J, (2005). Cricoid pressure: an alternative view. Elsevier. Germany.

Stewart J.C, Bhananker S, & Ramaiah R. (2014). Rapid-sequence intubation and cricoid pressure. J Crit Illn Inj Sci, Vol 4, pp 42 - 49.

Trethewy C.E, Burrows J.M, Clausen D & Doherty S.R. (2012). Effectiveness of cricoid pressure in preventing gastric aspiration during rapid sequence intubation in the emergency department: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BioMedCentral. Australia. Retrieved 04 August 2016:


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National changes in nursing training: South African perspectives 2015...

Dr. Respect Mondli Miya,(D.Lit et Phil)

Senior Lecturer: Psychiatry at Durban University of Technology, Department of Nursing Science


Nursing is a career of love rooted in rich and fertile soil governed by caring ideologies and philosophies. Individuals within the profession have strong and inexplicable desires to serve and preserve humanity at all cost. The nursing profession drives the health care system and is forever in the forefront of preventing, promoting and management of various diseases.  Nurses have always been there and have survived trials and tribulations. Nursing demands not only the brain for cognitive purposes but a humble heart, selflessness in daily duty execution. An individual without passion for the sick will never survive a minute of nursing’s demanding tasks.

Nursing novices are professionally socialized and groomed on their first day of training. Noble traditions of nursing are gradually unpacked and monitored up to graduation to enhance relevance and dignity of nursing profession. Nursing demands the utmost respect for humanity even after death itself. Most professions have minimum set of working hours yet nursing philosophy calls and promotes dedication beyond duty. Nursing is a way of living not just mere qualification written on papers but lived and experienced charisma. 

Historically, nursing was viewed as a religious vocation and was predominantly religious in nature which explains chapels, and meditation designated facilities utilized for prayers before commencing daily duties in old hospitals. Nursing training in South Africa before 1976 was hospital-based hence the notion of viewing nursing as a “hands-on” career has been accepted nationally and acknowledged by most prolific nursing scholars who remain sceptical to have nursing pitched at a degree level and offered in higher training of education in South Africa.   

Such training exposed and subjected nurses to poor recognition as a career.  Nurses were abused and viewed as medical officers’ hand maids who were good for nothing but to offer a bed pan, bathing the sick, and carry orders as prescribed without being objective. The training at that time was strict and limiting, even the scope of practice was limited and nobody could imagine a degree in nursing or university based nursing teaching and learning. Hospitals mostly trained nurses in general nursing and later midwifery.

Around 1987, nursing in South Africa was gradually introduced in tertiary education system and scope of practice and curriculum were amended. Nursing graduates were introduced to a 4-year degree obtaining general, psychiatry, midwifery and community health nursing. That made older nurses to feel bitter and never fully accepted university graduates as satisfactorily trained. Even medical officers were threatened and witness role change from nurses as hand maids into fully recognized members of the multidisciplinary health team with independent roles and functionality. These changes failed to bridge the gap of scope of practice and remuneration packages. Even to this date, the university and hospital trained nurses earn the same salary and follow same stream of training regulated by the same nursing Act 50 of 1978 as amended with specification stipulated in Regulation 425 (R.425).

The nursing act 33 of 2005 introduced community service of one year post- training for both hospital- and university-trained individuals. Errors still exist within the nursing education such as same recognition of a hospital and university trained graduate have similar scope of practice, universities are allowed to implement R425 differently. For example, some South African universities train students for six months in midwifery while others dedicate two full years for midwifery and three years for community health nursing which is offered for six months in colleges and some universities. The problem in South Africa is that there is one R.425 and implemented differently from one university to the other.

The current health ministry is proposing nursing training restructurization. In the proposal dated 23 July 2015, it recommends reintroduction of the old nursing training system with a hope of extending the nursing training duration and to phase out the R.425 of Act 50 (1978). The current proposal overlooks scope of practice and remuneration packages of such graduates irrespective of their qualification which is an error not even Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) could resolve in 2007. OSD failed to address issues of salaries in the nursing fraternity; an obvious error is that a nursing lecturer is graded as a nursing specialist.

The unresolved question here is: Who teaches the other? And why do they earn same salary if the other is a teacher? Up to the very same date, the public health system continues to fail to distinguish university graduates from hospital nursing graduates yet continues to differentiate auxiliary social worker from a University graduate Social Worker, and experienced Medical Officer from a Master of Medicine graduate. Why not with nursing in South Africa? 

The proposed training changes are as follows: general nursing and midwifery be done in a college over a period of four years without indicating whether that shall be Bachelor of nursing offered in a college which can never materialize as colleges do not offer degrees but universities do. If agreed upon, this will mean degrading the dignity of nursing as a profession over medicine which continues to be offered in the university without interruptions.

According to the proposed plan, nursing training is extended to 9 years (four year of midwifery and general, 18 months of psychiatry and one year of community health) which is unnecessary waste of time for an undergraduate qualification yet medicines years of training have been reduced to 5 years (MBCHB).


There is absolutely no need for such drastic changes in the nursing education.  It is alarming to witness MBCHB years of training have been reduced to five years and get paid a satisfactory remuneration package compared to Bachelor of Nursing graduates with stagnant remuneration. The introduction of Masters Degree in Medicines in South Africa is preparing sound clinical researchers and such projects (thesis and dissertations) are evaluated by nursing professors who in turn receive less recognition and degrading salaries compared to MMed graduates.

The South African health system requires the following:

1.     Strong and vocal task team of nursing professors who shall preserve the image and dignity of nursing as a profession and strongly oppose plans to change nursing training.

2.     No college shall be allowed to offer a bachelor of nursing, strictly universities only.

3.     Salary packages to be reviewed and sort clear distinction of a university graduate over a hospital trained graduate.

4.     Revised scope of practice, degree holders be given more opportunity to execute complex clinical procedures and be given better remuneration packages.

5.     Chief Nursing Officer to be more vocal and avoid external influences to disorganise nursing training.

6.     Hospitals to create portfolios and acceptable remuneration packages for all nursing qualifications from a diploma to PHD level.

7.     All South African universities to adopt and implement similar training structure  that is two years of midwifery, two years of psychiatry and two years of community health nursing

8.     Develop a Nursing Ministry by nurses with nurses and for nurses.

9.     MBCHB degree be afforded same status as B.Cur degree thereafter if need be.

10.  South African nursing council to be headed by prolific PHD holders and nursing qualifications be regulated and registered up to PHD level.

11.  Any qualification obtained outside university be regarded as either associate professional nurse and associated medical office until related exam has been endorsed by the regulating body.

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We are professionals, and let us fight to be recognised as such… 
Vuyolwethu Mashamayite - 20150728_073623
By Vuyolwethu Mashamaite 
Ever since I joined nursing in 2005 I have heard nurses say nursing is a ‘calling’ and it's not about money. I couldn't understand why they said so and I still don't.   
I believe that everyone is called by God to be in the profession or job they are doing, unless nurses consider themselves in the same umbrella as ‘Sangomas’ and ‘Preachers’. Those are the people who will leave their profession or jobs and focus on their calling or do both, regardless of whether they are paid or not. 
Perhaps this could be the reason why nurses are under-paid and left to work in extreme unfavourablecircumstances ...because it’s a "Calling".
Don't get me wrong; I have passion and great respect for human life as a nurse. But I cannot keep quiet. Nurses are the most abused professionals by the employer because they consider themselves "called" instead of being employed professionals.
Nurses you are jack of all trades doing everyone's jobs from a cleaner to a doctor but come pay day you are the ones who cry the most because you are underpaid while doing everyone's jobs. I guess it's the consequences of having been “called" instead of being professional.
We feel so comfortable working out of our scope of practice to an extent that we run a risk of performing tasks that we are not equipped to do. When told it's not your scope of practice you tell us of how long you've been doing this and you didn't kill anyone. But the South African Nursing Counci (SANC) is out there nailing nurses and not considering your "calling" but rather your profession and scope of practice.
What hurts the most is the fact that you studied for four years and someone from another discipline who studied the same years is treated and paid better than you. I guess they are professionals and you are in a "calling". 
Nurses, let's STOP hiding behind "CALLING" and start taking our profession seriously. If you don't do it, no one will do it for you. Like it or not we are professionals and let us fight to be recognised as such. 
Vuyolwethu is a nurse based in Kimberley, Northern Cape   

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August 2020

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About us

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in its current form was established on 5 December 1996.

The organisation was formed through political consensus after the transition to democracy and was mandated by its membership to represent them and unite the nursing profession. Prior to this, the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and the South African Nurses Association (SANA) were statutory bodies which all nurses had to join. It was also important after the transition to democracy to incorp... Read more