Focus needed on Primary Health Care

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pretoria - Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has called for more emphasis to be placed on Primary Health Care as part of reducing the huge burden of disease the country is faced with.

Speaking on Wednesday at the graduation ceremony of 40 students who are part of a South Africa-Cuba health agreement at the University of Cape Town, Motsoaledi expressed his concerns with the curative nature of South Africa's healthcare system describing it as hugely expensive and unsustainable.

"As a country we just have to go back to the basics of primary healthcare, we have to act now and prevent diseases even before they occur," said Motsoaledi.

South Africa is one of the countries in the world with huge maternal and infant mortality complicated further by HIV and AIDS.

Motsoaledi also announced that his department will this year table before Parliament a Bill that will establish an independent Office of Standards Compliance that will enforce compliance with set standards in the country's public hospitals.

He said that once established, the office will ensure that all healthcare facilities comply with a set of standards around quality so that hospitals become places where people find love and compassion.

"The quality of care in our hospitals is extremely worrying, everyday we hear sad stories of people not being well-taken care of in our hospitals," a concerned Motsoaledi said.

Turning to Graduates, Motsoaledi urged them to uphold the principles of quality health care in their system and fix their minds on strengthening the quality of care and clinical experiences.

"Your international and local experiences can only contribute to a greater awareness of your importance as part of the primary health care team and the attendant responsibilities that this entails for you as individuals, and for you as a member of that critically important team," he said.

Since its inception in the mid 1990s, the SA-Cuba programme has produced 246 medical doctors who are providing services to people especially in rural outlying areas.