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Meet SA’s youngest hospital CEO

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Dr Nokwethemba Mtshali-Hadebe

Dr Nokwethemba Mtshali-Hadebe, the youngest hospital CEO in SA, shares her plans to turn her institution into one of the best in the country

Over half the country’s population relies on the public healthcare system. And with the majority being unable to afford the services provided at private hospitals and clinics, public healthcare practitioners have to deal with high volumes of patients on a daily basis.

While they continue to deal with a number of challenges, such as a lack of infrastructure, long working hours and staff shortages, the priority of every healthcare practitioner is to save lives and provide the best healthcare possible to every patient.

No-one knows more about the challenges these practitioners face than Dr Nokwethemba Mtshali-Hadebe, who has recently been tasked with running the Bertha Gxowa hospital in Germiston, Gauteng. At the age of 31, she is the country’s youngest hospital CEO and heads a team of 767 staff members.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal graduate says her job comes with a lot of pressure but she’s determined to turn the hospital into one of the best in the country.

Dr Mtshali-Hadebe was asked to serve as acting CEO for the hospital in 2015 and was officially appointed to the position in May.

“The past year, as acting CEO, I’ve done very bold things, which I wouldn’t have done if I was permanently employed in the position. I might have been scared to do so,” she says.

One of these was to look at the issue of staff attitudes. The hospital held sessions with staff and examined challenges in the system, as well as what motivates and demotivates them.

“We’ve got good men and women out there, we just need to tap into their potential. As a manager, you must be able to translate the vision to the people who need to do the work,” she says.

Some of the insights she gained from those sessions were that some staff members were demotivated and didn’t feel appreciated. “The nursing staff, for example, felt that they only see managers when they do something wrong – never when they do something right,” she says. There were also issues with communication and transparency, which created barriers between management and staff.

Dr Mtshali-Hadebe has now established monthly merit awards, which are given to staff members who go above and beyond the call of duty, and news bulletins are sent out to inform staff of happenings around the hospital.

She does weekly walkabouts in various sections of the hospital to remian in the loop about all issues and challenges.

“One of the things I tell my team is that I need to be confident that if I were to collapse here in my office I would get the best care. I shouldn’t feel that I need to be taken to a private hospital,” she says. She emphasises that her staff should treat patients with the same care they would want  to receive themselves. Her biggest goal is to turn the hospital into a centre of excellence.

Being a CEO is a big challenge, but Dr Mtshali-Hadebe says she can handle the pressure.

“One of the things I realise now is that I was doing my bit for the country and for my community. My goal was not to inspire people, but I see that what I’m doing does just that. Yes – it does come with a bit of pressure, but I hope my work speaks for itself,” she says.

She recalls the time when she was the president of the Student Representative Council at university and a fellow student told her she was running the office the same way everyone had done. At the time she felt this observation was a bit harsh, but realised she had to do an even better job than her male counterparts.

“I will continue to do my work. I work hard and I won’t be apologetic about that. I know there’s the pressure of being young, female and black, so I need to work three times as hard as any average person to prove that I am worthy and that I can do the work,” she says.

Before joining the hospital, Dr Mtshali-Hadebe worked for Metropolitan Life. She left to take the position of clinical manager at Far East Rand Hospital. She has an MBA degree, is married and has a three-year-old son.

Victor Fungai Muzvidzwa is the founder and senior editor of HypeAvenue.com magazine.

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HE HAS FALLEN!!! Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down

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Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down and consultations are under way to set up a transitional council to run the country, government sources and a provincial minister said on Thursday.

The minister of production and economic resources in North Darfur Adel Mahjoub Hussein told the Dubai-based al-Hadath TV that “there are consultations to form a military council to take over power after President Bashir stepped down”.

A Sudanese source told Reuters Bashir was under house arrest with a number of aides at the presidential palace.

The army and security services deployed troops around the defence ministry and on major roads and bridges in Khartoum as thousands of people flocked to an anti-government protest outside the ministry, a Reuters witness said.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese marched through the centre of the capital Khartoum in jubilation, dancing and chanting anti-Bashir slogans.

Protesters outside the defence ministry chanted: “It has fallen, we won.”

State television and radio played patriotic music, reminding older Sudanese of how military takeovers unfolded during previous episodes of civil unrest.

DIVISIVE FIGURE

Bashir, a former paratrooper who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1989, has been a divisive figure who has managed his way through one internal crisis after another while withstanding attempts by the West to weaken him.

Sudan has suffered prolonged periods of isolation since 1993, when the United States added Bashir’s government to its list of terrorism sponsors for harbouring Islamist militants. Washington followed up with sanctions four years later.

Bashir has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003.

The latest crisis has escalated since the weekend, when thousands of demonstrators began camping out outside the Defence Ministry compound in central Khartoum, where Bashir’s residence is located.

Clashes erupted on Tuesday between soldiers trying to protect the protesters and intelligence and security personnel trying to disperse them. At least 11 people died in the clashes, including six members of the armed forces, the information minister said citing a police report.

Since December 19, Sudan has been rocked by persistent protests sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages

Opposition figures have called for the military to help negotiate an end to Bashir’s nearly three decades in power and a transition to democracy.

The demonstrators at the Defence Ministry had said that they wanted to submit a petition for the armed forces to take their side in their attempt to remove Bashir and his Islamist-backed administration.

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NUDE PROTEST!!! Gugu Ncube to appear in court on Thursday

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Gugu Ncube is expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate Court on Thursday, after staging a nude protest at Unisa on Wednesday.

Ncube said she was protesting naked because “nudity is a sign of my dignity that l have been stripped of”.

This refers to allegations that she was “unlawfully manhandled” at Unisa for reporting her boss to the university. She alleged that her boss was asking for sexual favours in exchange for her job.

Ncube donned black underwear and a red top, holding a placard in front of her, when she was arrested.

Unisa said the matter was between her and Unisa Centre for Early Childhood Education (UCECE), an external company that was previously sponsored by Unisa.

The university further said it followed due processes regarding Ncube’s sexual harassment complaint in 2018, and suspended its staff members who were accused of the crime. The accused were board members at UCECE at the time.

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Outage hits Facebook and Instagram users worldwide

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Facebook and Instagram users lost access to the social network’s applications in parts of the world Wednesday as a result of an outage of undetermined origin.

The California giant which has more than two billion users acknowledged the outage after users noted on Twitter they could not access Facebook or had limited functionality.

“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” a Facebook statement said on Twitter.

A short time later, Facebook indicated the outage was not related to an attack aimed at overwhelming the network.

“We’re focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack,” Facebook said, referring to what is known as a distributed denial of service cyber strike.

According to the website downdetector.com, outages were heaviest in North America and Europe, but some users appeared to be affected in other regions.

Last November, a Facebook outage was attributed to a server problem and a September 2018 outage was said to be the result of “networking issues.”

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