'Salaries of nurses in South Africa were and are appalling'

Government needs to increase nursing training colleges and improve salaries to retain well-trained nurses in the country.

This is according to Simon Hlungwani, President of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), who spoke to #NightTalk's Sizwe Dhlomo.

During the time our democratic government was trying to change policy from that of the apartheid government, there was a closure of some of the government colleges

Simon Hlungwani, President of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa)

Denosa and the South African Nursing Council have recently shared their concerns about the seriousness of South Africa's nurse shortage.

According to Hlungwani, policy changes in post-apartheid South Africa resulted in the closure of many government nursing colleges in the country, which means that fewer nurses are being trained in the country.

We have had professional nurses with qualifications which we need the most leaving our country, going to countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UK, the US and many other countries, because they are thought of as the best and well trained in the nursing fraternity

Simon Hlungwani, President of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa)

Hlungwani says that the level of training for nurses in South Africa is high, and due to better income opportunities, they have increasingly taken up offers in other countries.

He says that South Africa cannot compete with the income countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States offer nurses.

The public image of the profession is being dented

Simon Hlungwani, President of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa)

Hlungwani says that nurses often work in adverse conditions, where they are expected to fulfill duties which they are not supposed to be responsible for.

He says that this workload taken on by some nurses is having an impact on the profession and in the relationship between nurses and patients.

Let us also seek to change the way the system is. If it is not correct, we must try ourselves (as the nursing profession) to make sure things change for the better

Simon Hlungwani, President of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa)

Hlungwani says that bureaucratic challenges in bringing change to nursing in South Africa is limiting the growth of the profession in the country.

He says that nursing organisations will continue to engage with government to combat issues which are causing South Africa's nurse shortage.

Listen to the conversation below:


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