25 February 2013

South Africa: Gauteng Health System On Its Way to Recovery - Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane

press release

The public health system in Gauteng is well on its way to recovery and has pockets of excellence that we should celebrate and further enhance, said Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

Speaking at the opening of the Gauteng Legislature where she delivered her State of the Province Address, Mokonyane said that she was extremely proud of the health professionals as well as the many other workers in our health facilities - the nurses, porters, cleaners and security guards who remain dedicated and selfless in the provisioning of quality public health care.

"At the beginning of our term of office in 2009, the state of our public health institutions was unsatisfactory. This was a result of a combination of factors, including the outsourcing of management functions that resulted in poor management of human and financial resources. We were also plagued by instances of maladministration, corruption and a blatant disregard for authority and rules that govern our public health institutions.

"To address these, we brought high-level expertise, re-established effective leadership in the Department of Health and initiated a comprehensive turnaround strategy. We focussed on restoring effective controls and systems and improving efficiencies, capacity and management in key areas," Mokonyane said.

The Premier said that attention was paid to the four central hospitals namely; the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Dr George Mukhari Hospital and Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

She said that the province will continue turning the corner and yield tangible progress for better health care services.

Furthermore, Mokonyane said that Infrastructure maintenance and provisioning of electro-mechanical equipment which is integral to the effective functioning of hospitals, has visibly improved.

"On my recent visit to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, I observed significant improvements. Medical and ICU wards have been refurbished and new lifts, chillers and boilers have been installed.

"To ensure that theatres and other crucial functions are not affected by power outages, new generators are in place and permanent onsite maintenance officials have been appointed," said Mokonyane.

She also said that the long queues at the pharmacy have been addressed through interventions such as the distribution of chronic medicines at clinics closer to where patients live and extended pharmacy hours.

"Other improvements as a result of the implementation of the Health Turnaround Strategy include the availability of essential medicines at facilities from 40% to 78%. In the year ahead we aim to increase this to 98%.

As part of the province's commitment to continue the fight against HIV, AIDS and TB, Mokonyane said they have reached over 4 million people through HIV Counselling and Testing initiatives since 2011.

"Of the estimated 1.2 million Gauteng residents who are HIV positive, close to 900 000 now have access to anti-retroviral therapy through the public health system; an exponential increase compared to just 75,000 on ART in 2006.

Efforts to take quality health care closer to where people live have been taken with the introduction of 41 primary health care outreach teams since 2012.

"Specialist Teams with specialist health professionals including Obstetricians, Paediatricians and Family medicine specialists are operating in five health Districts. We now have 26 Community Health Centres with 24-hour access and 100 clinics with extended hours, an improvement on just 82 clinics with extended hours in 2010," said Premier.

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