MEC lends a hand at rural hospital

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Durban- In an effort to address the shortage of doctors in rural KwaZulu-Natal, Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and a team of seven medical doctors, volunteered their services at St Apollinaris Hospital in rural Creighton.

According to Dhlomo, the hospital only has three permanent doctors and cannot retain the services of doctors due to the poor road infrastructure, lack of accommodation and other amenities.

He said despite the provision of rural allowances, inhospitable allowances and the occupation specific dispensation, efforts to recruit more doctors have been unsuccessful.

"We have advertised close to seven posts for medical doctors in that hospital but when or if people come for interviews they never come back.

"I attended to a number of patients including 22 people who were affected by the ravaging storms that hit the area over the Easter weekend. Any health care system that does not serve the poor is not worthy of being mentioned," he added.

In the last financial year, the department spent R48 million towards bursaries for young people who wanted to pursue health related professions. This amount may increase this financial year.