Health professionals 'underpaid'
Pretoria - There is no doubt that doctors and other health care professionals are underpaid, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in Pretoria on Monday.
"It is not up for debate, their remuneration does not satisfy us as well," Motsoaledi told the media at his first press conference since he was sworn in as minister last week.
Motsoaledi was responding to the recent doctors' strike over low
"The issue under debate is when and how this problem will be
He said as a medical doctor himself he wanted to assure his
colleagues it was a problem he had personally experienced.
In fact the problem dated further back than 1994, he said.
"The problem with remuneration is like a septic wound, no-one
can suture it immediately," he said, adding it would be a lengthy
National Health Insurance
Referring to the proposed and controversial National Health
Insurance - to be implemented in the next five years - Motsoaledi
said there were enough resources for the continued existence of the
public and private health care sectors, however the funding
allocation between these areas was "skewed".
He said 5% of gross domestic product was spent on 11% of the population, while only 3% was spent on the remaining 89%.
"We think there is something grossly wrong with that. We need to
use the resources available, I'm one of the seven million people
[who have private health care], what about the remaining 42
"It's got nothing to do with abolishing private health care," he
said adding that it was not in his mandate.
"The National Health Insurance, part of its function [is] to try
and contain the costs that are spiralling out of control."
Motsoaledi said he was under no impression that the problems
facing the health department were huge, but his instruction from
President Jacob Zuma was to "hit the ground running".
He said in his 15 years in the health sector he had identified
several weaknesses in government.
These included financial management, municipal infrastructure
and human resources development.