Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, has commended the move by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, which will see an increase in the allocation for the compensation of health interns.
Reacting to the additional allocations to health shortly after the tabling of the Budget Speech, Phaahla said this will go a long way in helping the already underfunded sector.
“The overall reaction is that in the circumstances of lower economic growth and the devastation of the economy by COVID-19, what the Minister has done is very commendable because things could have been worse.
“… When you add the internship allocation plus the overall additional allocation, it comes to just over R19 billion over three years. That is a significant additional allocation which will help us quite a bit,” he said.
In his speech, Godongwana made a plethora of announcements aimed at improving social services like health and education.
Godongwana said like teachers, health care workers are among those who are the “last and only line of defence” against the pandemic.
He announced an additional R15.6 billion to provincial Health Departments to support their continued response to COVID-19, and to bridge shortfalls in essential goods and services.
An amount of R3.3 billion was allocated to absorb medical interns and community service doctors.
Phaahla said while the entire public health is underfunded, he understands the circumstances of “where we are today, so we appreciate the gesture of the additional allocation, which will take us a long way, particularly considering the devastation, and the pressure under which we have to redirect a lot of resources to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“So this will help us but we are hoping that the economy will continue to grow better than [it is] now so that in the coming years, we can even get better so we can add some capacity within our health services, which is lacking,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za