Gauteng prioritises maternal, infant health

Tuesday, August 9, 2011
By: 
Gabi Khumalo

Pretoria - Reducing incidences of maternal and infant mortality will be among the Gauteng Provincial Government's priorities during this year's Women's Month.

Speaking at Women's Day celebrations at the Union Buildings on Tuesday, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said the provincial government will this month focus on the promotion of women's health, including reproductive health rights. Getting women to know their HIV status will also be promoted.

"We will also encourage pregnant women to attend ante-natal clinics as early as possible to reduce incidences of maternal and infant mortality. As government, we have become proactive on maternal and child health, especially with regards to HIV and Aids," Mokonyane said.

In line with this year's theme, 'Working together to enhance women's opportunities to economic empowerment', the Gauteng government has given priority to promoting women's access to economic opportunities and is paying attention to improving women's access to job opportunities.

"By the end of the financial year 2011/2012, over 34 000 women will have benefited from the Expanded Public Works Programme. In addition to this, over 200 women's cooperatives continue to benefit from job opportunities such as producing and supplying linen, fresh produce to government institutions, as well as supplying government with school uniforms for children from non-fee paying schools," Mokonyane said.

Turning focus to the history of Women's Day, Mokonyane paid tribute to the courageous generation of Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, and many others who soldiered on at great personal cost during the worst periods of South African life.

"Today we pay tribute to these struggle heroines. We also pay tribute to women from all sectors of our society for the role they have played over the years in the struggle to advance freedom and women's socio-economic emancipation," Mokonyane said.

She called on women to take part in the formulation of legislation and policy framework for advancing equality and women's empowerment. She said through the Constitution and other statutory provisions, the province has sought to protect and promote the rights of women and girls.

While government acknowledged that a large of proportion of women was still located within the informal sector of the economy, women have also been able to enter and succeed in the mainstream economy.

Mokonyane further noted that violence against women and girls has become a scourge not only in the province, but in the entire country.

"There are concerted efforts towards addressing this challenge through legislation, policy, positive measures, increased policing and the provision of services to victims. The Criminal Justice and Safety and Security systems are now beginning to deal with this crisis in a gender-sensitive manner," Mokonyane said

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