Mpumalanga committed to improving healthcare

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mbombela – Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza says the provincial government will double up on efforts to improve healthcare in the province.

“We are investing a large proportion of our resources to deliver quality healthcare to the citizens of the province. We are doing this to ensure that our healthcare system is able to deliver quality health care to all, including the poor and vulnerable sectors of our society,” said Mabuza during the State of the Province Address in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature on Friday.

Over the past few years, the province has paid particular attention to increasing life expectancy, decreasing maternal and child mortality, combating HIV and Aids as well as strengthening the overall effectiveness of the provinces health care system.

Despite the progress made, maternal and child mortality in Mpumalanga continues to be unacceptably high, said Mabuza.

One of the major causes of the high child mortality rate, said Mabuza, was pregnant women who visited health facilities too late.

Keeping to the promise made by the premier last year to achieve an immunisation coverage of 80% for children, the improvements showed an increase in immunisation from 73.9% in 2011/12 financial year to 81.6% at the end of the third quarter of 2012/13 financial year.

“We will continue to increase preventive and promotive healthcare for school-going children in 50% of the quintile 1 and 2 schools, through the Integrated School Health programme. Health workers will visit schools to screen the learners for health conditions that pose barriers to learning,” he said.

In a quest to reduce the high maternal mortality facing the province, three District Clinical Specialist Teams have been employed in each district to provide support to district hospitals and clinics.

In addition, the Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) was also adopted and launched in the Mkhondo Municipality in November 2012 to implement basic interventions that promote the health of women and children.

As part of this campaign, Maternity Waiting Homes will be established in all district hospitals to close the gap of delays in accessing maternity care during emergencies.

“We call on all families and communities to support the welfare of women and children,” urged the premier.

Mabuza acknowledged that the quality of the healthcare system was not responding adequately to the healthcare needs of the people.

“The quality of service delivery in our facilities is not up to the required standard. This is the area of our work that should receive urgent attention.”

To address this, the province has conducted a comprehensive assessment of all hospitals against national core standards and six core priority areas which focus on patient rights; patient safety; clinical support services; public health; leadership and governance; operational management, as well as facilities and infrastructure.

The assessment also looked at core priority areas including cleanliness, safety and security, waiting times, staff attitudes, infection control and drug supply.

In terms of the provincial health infrastructure, many hospitals will be demolished and reconstructed. These include Bethal, Elsie Ballot, Ermelo Sesifuba TB, Sabie, Lydenburg, Barberton TB, Mapulaneng, and Standerton TB Hospital.

“For us to succeed in this work, we have to do things differently. There has to be a strong sense of urgency, agility and renewed sense of commitment to deliver on these massive projects within a short space of time. Our people deserve better,” said Mabuza. –