The word “doctor” usually conjures up images of intelligent, respectful and altruistic individuals. So to see these professionals, protesting and picketing outside hospitals for better wages, albeit peacefully, seems so unbefitting. One may be inclined to think that because doctors have devoted their life to helping others, they’ll work day and night for stipends. Maybe. But the protests in recent weeks have demonstrated that even the most self-effacing individuals can only be pushed so far. Perhaps the paradigm is shifting, perhaps the government is realising that health practitioners need to be paid fairly in order to prevent further brain drain in South Africa.
It was with great pleasure that I heard that the State had increased doctors’ salaries by between 10 and 60% yesterday. And although it might not be an exact match to their demands, at least it’s a start. It is a sign that our government is heeding the desperate call of these humanitarians and finally seeing the wood for the trees. Eureka!