The Eastern Cape is ready to hire more than 2900 nurses.
“This is not nearly enough but it is a step in the right direction in addressing our staff shortages,” the MEC said.
“We employed close to 10,000 nurses in 2021 and in April we employed more than 3,600.”
Meth said though the province was renowned for its anti-colonialism and anti-apartheid activists, it had also produced nurses with a passion for helping others, including Cecilia Makiwane, SA’S first registered black professional nurse, Dora Nginza, Albertina Sisulu and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
“These are our health legends,” she said.
“These great women who came before us laid the foundation, and just like them, all the nurses who are here today from around the province chose nursing because of your passion to help others. For some, nursing chose them. This is more than just a career or profession, it’s a calling.”
Meth said this was why she was shocked when she heard negative stories about rude nurses or those who had seemingly forgotten their pledge.
But she said the majority of nurses, bar a “few rotten apples” continued to be a shining beacon for the profession.
She said the Lilitha College of Nursing continued to produce top nurses.
Between the 2016/17 and 2020/21 financial years, it had produced 1,716 nurses with qualifications such as the basic diploma and four-year diploma.
The college also offered qualifications for enrolled nurses and enrolled nursing auxiliaries, bridging courses and one-year midwifery courses.
But due to the phasing out of the legacy programmes and phasing in of new ones, the college had not been able to have a new intake for the past two years.
It was engaged in a process of being accredited by regulatory bodies such as the SA Nursing Council and Council of High Education in preparation for the implementation new programmes.
The MEC said the department was building decent accommodation for its health professionals across the province, particularly in rural areas.
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