New HIV testing plan welcomed

2010-03-13 16:30

Johannesburg - Government's commitment to test 15 million people for HIV/Aids in a bid to reduce infections by 50% by 2011 has been welcomed by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa).

Denosa spokesman Asanda Fongqo said in a statement on Friday the organisation noted with appreciation that the campaign would also offer voluntary counselling at entry points of all health centres.

"Prevention remains the best measure in combating the spread of HIV and Aids in our country," he said.

However, Denosa expressed concern about the health ministry's call for retired nurses to return to the field to assist by volunteering their services.

"While we accept that our health system requires more personnel as a matter of urgency, we view the call by the ministry as an interim measure to the gross staff shortages that exist.

"Retired health professionals should be brought in to inculcate commitment and serve as mentors to the younger generation," Fongqo said.

"[But] these retired health professionals are being called on a voluntary basis as this implies that they might not be given any sort of compensation for their efforts.

"In this regard, we want to emphasise that they must be remunerated accordingly," he said.

Denosa also reiterated its call for reopening nursing education institutions and colleges that were closed, to train more nurses.

This, the organisation said, would form part of a sustainable and long-term solution to the current under-staffing in health institutions.