Tuesday February 06, 2024

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] calls on the National Department of Health to fully implement the Human Resource Strategy for Health to mitigate the challenges of shortage of health personnel in the Healthcare System.

This must be done together with the implementation of the Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth recommendations which was co-chaired by the former President Jacob Zuma and the former President of France, Francois Hollande. The commission was established to strengthen health and social protection systems as well as broader initiatives to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to meet the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs].

As NEHAWU, we insist that more has to be done rapidly, given the vast shortages of health personnel in the healthcare system, as underscored in the 2030 Human Resource for Health Strategy where it states that “the prevailing Human Resource for Health challenges are a result of continued underinvestment, limited strategic planning and management capacity, and gaps in governance, stewardship, accountability, coordination and implementation of key health workforce policy interventions for the delivery of quality services”.

It is imperative for the department to ensure that there’s an investment in the healthcare workers to address the major challenges encountering our healthcare system. Healthcare workers play a critical role in achieving a well-functioning healthcare system that is able to effectively provide quality healthcare services. This would contribute in improving the healthcare system and work towards strengthening the health system to ensure that it provides access to quality health services for all in line with the principles of universal health coverage.

As NEHAWU, we call for department to implement the HRH Strategy through the creation of jobs and employment of more health personnel [Community Health Workers, Nurses, Doctors…etc] in order to have an effective and functional health system that will improve health outcomes of the population as per the vision of HRH Strategy. “A country that fails to invest to the health of its citizens deserves no future”

The government has not invested adequately in the healthcare system more especially on health workforce as per the Human Resources for Health Strategy. Currently, there is a high-vacancy rate in public healthcare, which goes contrary and undermines the vision of the Human Resources Strategy for the Health Sector: 2030, which amongst others stipulates that “an additional 97 000-health workers, with Community Healthcare Workers [CHWs] comprising around one third would be required by 2025”. The Department of Health must urgently address this shortage of health workers that are required to meet the health needs of our people.

Equally, the National Treasury must do away with its austerity measures program that have had a particular impact on the capacity of the state to deliver service in health, thereby hindering the quest building of a capable and developmental state that intervenes to societal needs.

Lastly, we reiterate that the National Department of Health should implement the Human Resource Strategy to mitigate the shortage of health workers through creating more jobs and employing more health workers.


Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Lwazi Nkolonzi (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 081 558 2335 or email: