1 June 2012
South Africa’s Health Department aims to improve the country’s healthcare system and to get a clean audit this financial year, and has enlisted the help of 400 graduate interns to help it achieve this, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday.
The interns joined the department on 2 May and have been grouped into three internship programmes: financial management, human resources and information management.
The unemployed graduates – who have qualifications in the fields of finance, commerce, accounting, human resources and information communication technology – will be put to work in the department’s offices in all nine of the country’s provinces.
Speaking at the launch of the support internship programme in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, Motsoaledi said most of the challenges provinces encountered were in the areas of financial management, procurement and human resources, all key to the running of any department.
The interns have been selected to provide additional assistance in the areas of asset management, revenue collection, supply chain management, PERSAL clean-up and information management, among others.
“All interns have undergone a capacity building programme for a period of a month. The aim was to skill them further prior to their deployments in the provinces,” Motsoaledi explained.
The areas identified as key to their development include: an understanding of how the public service operates; financial management in the public sector; the use of human resource information in planning; and the district health information system.
The department is planning to appoint 15 interns per category per province, where they will be deployed in provincial offices with effect from mid-June 2012 for a period of 12 months. They will get a stipend of R3 500 per month from European Union (EU) funding.
An amount of R84-million has been allocated towards the programme, which will also include accommodation and transport.
EU Head of Development Cooperation Richard Young stressed the need to pay more attention to maternal and child mortality, non-communicable diseases and HIV/Aids.
“The programme [uses] young people to strengthen the health system … we shouldn’t forget that you are going … to help other people to have a better life,” Young told the interns.
Last month, the department recruited 70 unemployed graduates with degrees and honours degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering to help in forensic toxicology, where there is a backlog.
One of the interns, Kgopotso Shayi from Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, said she was going to work hard to try to learn more about how the department operates.
“Hopefully, my presence will bring change and help improve the health system in my province.”