22 August 2012

South Africa: More Gauteng Patients Use Clinics

Pretoria — Over three million people have shown confidence in Gauteng's primary health care (PHC) facilities by making use of clinics as the first port of call, says Provincial Department of Health MEC, Hope Papo.

Presenting the department's first quarter monitoring report to the health portfolio committee meeting on Tuesday, Papo announced that during April, May and June 2012, 3 909 855 patients under the age of five were treated at PHC facilities.

The department aimed to increase this number before the end of the financial year to five million for patients under the age of five and one million for those over the age of five.

"We are happy that people are now responding to our call of seeking medical assistance at clinics and only going to hospital on referral. We, however, urge more people to use the appropriate levels of care to avoid inconveniences such as long queues," said Papo.

However, Papo noted that the department was experiencing challenges with antenatal visits before 20 weeks gestation, where performance was slightly lower. This, he said, could be due to women still believing that antenatal attendance was only necessary when the pregnancy was showing.

Papo appealed to expectant mothers to go to the clinics early in gestation in order to identify pregnancy related complications and ensure that they deliver healthy children.

"Immunisation is important to eliminate vaccine preventable illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles among children, and parents must understand that they have an obligation to ensure that their children have received all the necessary immunisation.

To ensure a decrease in maternal and neonatal deaths, Papo said the department was continuing with social mobilisation, which includes door-to-door campaigns targeting the underperforming districts.

Other achievements include:

- Currently, there are 585 825 adults and 36 529 children on anti-retroviral treatment. The HIV Counselling and Testing rate stands at 92%.

- During the first quarter, 1 802 professional, enrolled nurses and enrolled nursing auxiliaries and 588 post- basic nurses graduated. In the first quarter nursing colleges had a total of 6 532 student nurses in various categories in all years of training.

- The department has also reduced accruals from R 3.6 billion to R120 million by July 2012. Payment amounting to R874 million was made to the Medical Supplies Depot by April 2012. The total paid from 1 April to 28 June 2012 of R4.2 billion includes current and prior year invoices.

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