Much of South Africa’s public health sector is plagued by long waiting times for surgery, a situation that was made much worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, an inspiring project at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town has reached its target of slashing its backlog by 1 500 surgeries. Elri Voigt reports.
Hospitals in South Africa have been put under immense strain over the past two years as beds were filled with COVID-19 patients and elective surgeries had to be put on hold. To make things worse, pre-existing shortages of intensive care trained nurses and other critical staff were exacerbated by healthcare workers themselves contracting SARS-CoV-2 and falling ill or having to isolate themselves. Tiyese Jeranji explores how Gauteng and the Western Cape are catching up on elective surgeries and asks what is being done about the underlying problem of staff shortages.