South Africa: MEC Madoda Sambatha Urges Residents to Use Clinics As First Point of Treatment

press release

Health MEC, Madoda Sambatha said primary healthcare can only improve if people first go to clinics and stop approaching hospitals each time they are ill.

The Department of Health recently extended operating hours for eight clinics in the province from eight to 24 hours a day. The clinics are Buxton, Taung Gateway, Moshana, Madibogo Pan, Mafikeng Gateway, Madikwe, Bethanie, and Okakeng. At total of 77 health facilities in the province now offer 24 hour service. Matsheng Clinic will also extend its operating hours in January 2020.

The decision to extend operating hours follows Sambatha's commitment to increase access to healthcare in the province. He made the commitment soon after his appointment.

"The number will increase by at least ten health facilities per year for the next five years, targeting the most rural communities in a manner that address equity of access to health services," Sambatha said.

The Health Department urges the public to make use of Community Health Centers (CHC's) and public clinics as the first point of entry into the broader health system.

This comes due to unnecessary overflow of patients visiting hospitals with cold cases that could have been reported and treated at a primary health level. Sambatha said the overflow affects emergency cases and also creates unnecessary burden on secondary health services like hospitals.

Department records show that out of every 100 patients at hospitals, only five (5) need hospital services while 95 can be dealt with at clinics.

"CHC's in the province have resident medical officers who are on call to attend to more complicated illnesses or injuries while at the clinics there are scheduled medical officers who attend to more serious illnesses.

"There is a referral system which moves patients from clinics (primary health care) to hospitals as and when they need secondary or tertiary intervention. Health facilities have an excellent and regular supply of all medication," said Sambatha.

The MEC said members of the public have a role to play in the smooth running of health centres in the province.

"The practice of utilizing the primary health care services as the first point of entry will reduce the unnecessary burden placed at most hospitals by community members. This will also have a positive impact on the waiting period experienced at hospitals while allowing health professionals to attend to emergencies in an efficient and effective way," he said.

Issued by: North West Health

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