R1.1bn budgeted to stabilise Gauteng health sector

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Johannesburg - As part of stabilising the health sector, Gauteng MEC for Finance Mandla Nkomfe  has allocated additional R1.1 billion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) to supplement funding for the “non-negotiable items that make the health institution functional”.

"Our commitment to restoring effective control systems and improving efficiencies capacity and management in the department of health is unwavering,” said the MEC, delivering his 2013/14 Budget on Tuesday.

“As part of stabilising the health sector, an additional amount of R1.1 billion has been made available over the MTEF to supplement funding for the non-negotiable items that make the health institutions functional.”

Nkomfe announced that the Helen Joseph, Tembisa and Kalafong hospitals have been reclassified and will assume the status of tertiary hospitals while Natalspruit and Zola hospitals will be commissioned in the 2013\14 financial year.

The Department of Health has been allocated an amount of R1.5 billion over the MTEF to cater for operational costs of these hospitals and an additional allocation amounting to R2.2 billion over the MTEF is earmarked for personnel.

“We are mindful of the challenges confronting the health sectors and we are confident that the turnaround strategy will yield desired results."

As part of the turnaround strategy, the provincial Health Department focused on restoring effective controls and systems and improving efficiencies, capacity and management in key areas

Attention was paid to four central hospitals - Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic, Dr George Mukhari and Steve Biko Pretoria Academic.

To ensure the effective functioning of these and other hospitals, the implementation of the strategy addressed staffing, equipment, the number of beds, the working environment, supply of drugs as well as patient and staff satisfaction and morale.

Through the strategy, infrastructure maintenance and provisioning of electro-mechanical equipment has been notably improved.

In Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic, 14 autoclaves, 12 generators, five chillers, six gas sterilisers and five boilers are all fully functional. 

The hospital is scheduled to have 40 lifts in total, 25 are functional, one is being repaired and 16 are scheduled to be replaced.  All laundry machines are functional.

At Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, medical and ICU wards have been refurbished and new lifts, chillers and boilers have been installed. 

To prevent challenges in theatres during power outages, new generators have been put in place and permanent onsite maintenance officials have been appointed. 

Last month, a project to refurbish a total of 13 nurses and doctors’ residences to an acceptable state commenced.  The project includes residences in Lebone Nursing and EMS College, SG Lourens, Ann Lansky, Chris Hani, Coronation and Ga-Rankuwa Nursing Colleges. Hospitals include Natalspruit, Tembisa, Sebokeng, Helen Joseph and Charlotte Maxeke.

Other improvements as a result of the implementation of the health turnaround strategy include the availability of essential medicines at facilities from 40% to 78%. 

The re-engineering of the Medical Supply Depot is underway and in 2013/2014, the construction of the new Gauteng Medical Supply Depot will commence.

Nkomfe said access to HIV treatment in the province also received a budget boost as the  province further plans to extend anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs) to more people through local clinics.

An amount of R10.2 billion is allocated for the HIV and AIDS programme over the MTEF. 

“The programme continues to focus on social mobilisation to increase knowledge, attitudes and protective social norms and media campaigns. The province further plans to extend ARVs to more people through local clinics.”

Over four million people have been reached through HIV Counselling and Testing initiatives since 2011. Of the estimated 1.2 million Gauteng residents who are HIV positive, close to 900 000 now have access to anti-retroviral therapy through the public health system – a big increase compared to just 75 000 in 2006. 

“Delivering primary health care is central to our on-going efforts of improving quality health care. Our commitment to deliver this very crucial service is demonstrated by the additional funding of R430 million to the baseline that is allocated over the MTEF for enhancing PHC,” said the MEC. – SAnews.gov.za