The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) will join South Africans in celebrating International Nurses Day on 12 May 2012. “IMATU represents nurses and midwives in the municipal sector and tomorrow represents the chance to celebrate these healthcare practitioners and the contributions they make to our health sector on a daily basis,” said IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

IMATU believes in realising the goal of access to quality health care for all South Africans, however in order to achieve this goal the Government must take the lead in providing effective strategies and implementation plans. IMATU believes that the International Council of Nurses’ chosen theme this year, Closing the Gap: From Evidence to Action, is particularly important and highlights the need for healthcare professionals to identify whether the anticipated outcomes are sufficiently important to change practice and use precious resources that might be needed elsewhere.

“IMATU members have flagged numerous concerns relating to the public health sector including poor working conditions, under resourced staff, vacancies and ineffective management. There is also a specific focus on National Health Insurance (NHI) implementation and we are closely monitoring the Department of Health’s current piloting of the NHI in ten selected districts,” said Koen.

While celebrating the good work that our nurses and midwives do, IMATU believes that significant improvement within all levels of healthcare in South Africa must take place.

“Any health care reform that takes place going forward must focus on eradicating the current systemic problems in the current public health system such as poor management, deteriorating infrastructure, equipment shortages, unavailability of prescription drugs, corruption, theft, governance and poor accountability,” concluded Koen.