Inspiring health workers to build a healthy South Africa

The National Department of Health issued a statement reminding us of the important contribution health workers make to society with the rallying call of there can be no health without health workers!

This is not merely a slogan, it is a reality seen and felt by every South African because we all fall ill from time to time or we have relatives, friends and co-workers who fall ill. It is when we fall ill or when a loved one falls ill that we most treasure our health workers.

We know what to heal, nurture and comfort every day – which we what is expected of every health worker – can sometimes be difficult. This is especially the case when we work under difficult conditions and feel unappreciated. Here are two quotes from our beloved Madiba to inspire us when we feel low:

“It is in your hands to make a better world for all who live in it”

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived it. It is what difference we have made in the lives of others”

Health workers make a difference in the lives of others every day. Often we take this for granted but when we show respect, caring and compassion, our patients benefit – and we make a better world for them!

The burden of disease in our country is changing. We still have HIV, TB and malaria but we also have malnutrition, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and cancers! This makes providing health care more complex thus calls for a renewed commitment to respectful, compassionate and confidential care.

We need to be patient with a health care user who can’t recall her patient or file number; or an older person who cannot recall details of his history. We need to appreciate that more young people are taking responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health. As health care workers lets be responsive to their needs for be it contraceptives or termination of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. As we offer responsive health care services let us welcome patients back who defaulted on their HIV or TB treatment.

This is the calling of health professions.

Health workers are sometimes said to be rude and uncaring but here are some reasons to smile – here are ‘thank you’s’ from a selection of pregnant women to health workers collected though MomConnect:

“Mom Connect has been the best guidance during my pregnancy and I would like to compliment Veeplaas clinic as well as nurse Sigam for their best service”.

“I booked at Montshioa Clinic in Mafikeng. The service was excellent I cannot remember the names of the nurses but all I know is that she’s in her mid-40s she wears glasses and she operates at room4. I loooooooove her. I’m a first time mom and she help me tremendously”.

“I’m very greatful for the help of Naomi Fourie at Empilweni Gompo CHC she is such a professional and she managed to help me pull through as a first time mummy”.

“Thank you Doctor Mafu at Tembisa hospital for the wonderful treatment god bless you”.

“Service is good workers so sweet even cleaners and security ❤ alots of love to all the staff they must keep like that👌🏻”

“Ext 9 clinic in Vosloorus, has the best staff, from the admin staff to the cleaners & security, last but no least the most important part of that clinic”.

Let’s welcome patients to our facilities with open arms – our people need us to help them be healthy and stay healthy.