South Africa: Sama Pledges to Support New Gauteng Health MEC

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has pledged to provide any support it can to make the new Gauteng MEC for Health tenure successful.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced the new Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, on Wednesday, as the province bolsters its COVID-19 response.

SAMA Chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee, said the association welcomes the appointment of Mokgethi and commits to give all the support they can. However, Coetzee warned that "the road ahead is challenging".

"There are many issues with public health institutions in the province and the MEC will have to tread a rocky path to ensure systems are improved to provide quality care to patients," Coetzee said.

Dr Coetzee also welcomed the announcement by the Premier that a team of administrators would also be appointed to assist the Health Department.

Makhura appointed an intervention team of experts, including managers, administrators and clinician specialists to deal with the possible second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The team will also look at the entire organisational structure of the Health Department, and will look at ways to boost primary healthcare, institutional leadership of hospitals, including decentralisation and devolution of certain functions from the local level to the head office.

It will further look at how to deal with what has been a systematic problem in financial governance, irregular practices, corruption and sustained areas where the department has been found involved in acts of corruption.

"Health is a vital portfolio in any government be it national or provincial and the appointment of this team is acknowledgement by the Premier of its importance. We are keen to see improvements in all health sectors across the country and the announcements by Premier Makhura are timely, important and welcomed," Coetzee said.

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