3 November 2017

South Africa: Public Hospitals Must Emulate Steve Biko Success - President Zuma

President Jacob Zuma says public hospitals around the country must learn from the example of Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane.

The President on Friday visited the hospital to monitor the delivery of healthcare services as part of the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme, which aims to improve the healthcare system in the country. Access to health is one of the government's key priorities.

Due to its remarkable performance and sound management, Steve Biko Academic Hospital was declared the best well managed public hospital in the country by the Office of Health Standards Compliance, which is the watchdog of the standard of health in the country.

The hospital is named after late liberation struggle hero and a former medical student at the University of Natal, Steve Bantu Biko. It is a tertiary healthcare institution, rendering specialised and highly specialised services to medically referred patients.

During his visit, President Zuma walked about in various units of the hospital to monitor service delivery processes, and addressed media upon completion of his tour.

He said the work done by the hospital deserved to be shown to the world.

"The hospital staff, at different levels, is very committed to their work. I am very happy. I think the Department of Health has done very well on behalf of the country."

The hospital is said to accommodate patients from various parts of the country and Southern Africa.

"This hospital is a life saver for our people. It provides treatment to patients who have serious diseases," President Zuma said.

The President was accompanied by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, together with the hospital Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mmathabo Mathebula.

High end care

One of the units that the President and his delegation visited was the Nuclear Medicine Centre, which provides the best evidence-based patient care, utilising the most advanced technological imaging equipment. It scans the full body system of a patient.

Minister Motsoaledi said the hospital gets patient referrals from many parts of the country, including public and private health care facilities because of the specialists who work at the hospital and the world class equipment found in the hospital.

"The Professor who works in the Nuclear Medicine Centre of this hospital has special skills from studying in Europe, which you cannot find anywhere in our country. He is the only one in the country who has those skills.

The Minister said some units of the hospital are ranked amongst the best in the world, with a ground breaking fertility clinic.

The delegation also visited various departments of the hospital to interact with staff and patients about challenges facing the hospital for purposes of further improving its services, including the oncology department, which is one of the busiest drainage areas for oncology patients in the country.

The oncology centre has the largest number of radiation machines that cater for patients from Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and Gauteng.

The pharmacy of the hospital has an automated medical dispensary, which is the second one in the country and is also the biggest dispenser of a wide range of medicines with the capacity to dispense 120 prescriptions per hour.

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