Health workers urged to treat patients with dignity

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Johannesburg - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has urged health professionals to abide by their calling and treat all patients with the dignity they deserve.

Speaking at a Maternal, Child and Women's Health Summit on Tuesday, Minister Motsoaledi reminded health workers that their job was a calling that demanded passion, compassion, treating people with love, honour and dignity.

"This seems to be lost in many health workers. You are not ordinary employees, when you work under the health system and as much as you are government employees, you have a contract with the human beings, it is not legally binding but it is within your heart," said Dr Motsoaledi.

The minister further urged health professionals to practice cleanliness and hygiene in the health facilities they worked in.

"Before you can treat another person with chemicals, you have to ensure that a clean environment is a pre-requisite. We can discuss all the challenges we have in our health system and how to tackle them, but if the starting point is not clean and spotless, we must forget it.

"We have abandoned the basic things, how can you order an ultrasound when the hospital you are working at is not clean. We are going to start from the basics and that is what I expect from the hospitals .... to be clean in such a way that you could see yourself on the floor," the minister told health professionals.

He admitted that health facilities were not always healthy places to work and committed himself to work with them to ensure that the conditions are improved as a matter of urgency.

"What I ask of you is to do more and do better, let us use this opportunity to initiate a process that will bring hope to our people, hope that the health system can be strengthened in ways that will provide them with the type of care that they deserve when they are at their most vulnerable," said Minister Motsoaledi.

The summit aims to obtain consensus on key bottlenecks to meeting the health Millennium Development Goals and to agree on steps to be taken to urgently address the challenges.