fixing the leaks

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The over-centralisation of authority over financial and human resources is a major factor hampering the effective functioning of the Mpumalanga health department in Mpumalanga.

The situation is exacerbated by the shortage of medical doctors in the province.

This was revealed by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang in Nelspruit yesterday.

The minister was in the province to determine the gravity of the situation and find solutions in conjunction with the provincial health department.

The probe would investigate ways of how the national Health Department could support the province.

Tshabalala-Msimang said a human resource management team from the national department would visit Mpumalanga next week to assist in finalising the organogram for the provincial department.

"For this organogram to be effective, it needs to be appropriately staffed and we have agreed that fully-funded vacant posts need to be filled within six months," she said.

The minister also said the provincial department was expected to pay all outstanding overtime claims and settle all accounts for supplies and services rendered within 30 days of the invoice being submitted.

The department announced earlier this year that there was a huge shortage of doctors, many of whom had left Mpumalanga for better pay and benefits in other provinces.

Mpumalanga has fewer than 700 doctors and one doctor is expected to service about 5000 people.

Change in the training curriculum of doctors has been blamed for the shortage because provinces have not been allocated any community doctors this year.

In the recent past, MEC for health William Lubisi embarked on a campaign to lure doctors to the province.

Low pay and inadequate infrastructure were some of the complaints cited by doctors as the source of unhappiness.

But the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) in Mpumalanga has called for the sacking of department head Confidence Moloko, who it blames for the ongoing crisis in the province's health sector.