As per their budget vote speech, the Department of Health in the province has set out to achieve new goals and standards so as to better the health care system, that has failed many. MEC, Mase Manopule outlined some of the departments highlights as well as the lowlights and how the department plans on curbing them.
To start, the Northern Cape Department of Health is the only health department that has not drawn up a provincial health bill. The bill will serve as a vital regulatory instrument to inform and guide all healthcare sectors on the mandatory policy shifts introduced by the national health insurance.
At the start of the 2019/20 financial year, the department appointed 194 health professionals in different categories of nurses and medical doctors. Northern Cape medical students returned from their studies in Cuba, in the Fidel Castro collaboration program and graduated at Walter Sisulu University. 27 students from Cuba will be doing their clinical training rotations at the various medical schools in South Africa. Health and welfare SETA and the Health Department are working towards implementing additional learner-ships in the healthcare services.
In 2019, 90 learners will be placed for pharmacy assistant learner-ships and 130 community care workers across the districts in the province. Another 90 will be trained in end user IT to support the district health system and emergency medical services.
Manopole states that before the end of 2019 the department will have an intake of 129 nursing students at the Henrietta Stockdale Nursing College:
• 69 nursing students for diploma nursing
• 30 midwifery students for diploma in midwifery
• 30 bridging course students
A national curriculum will be launched for nurses in 2020.
Contingent liability that may have incurred, rose from R20.66 billion in 2015 to R98 billion in March 2019. In the Northern Cape it increased from R151 million to R15 billion in the corresponding period.
A stricter management of patient files and confidential records will be introduced and nurses will be receiving patient confidentiality and ethical care training.
The emergency medical services (EMS)’received in 2019:
• 32 ambulances
• 16 patient transport cars
A computer aided ambulance dispatch system will be operationalized in Kimberley and Upington and the department’s medium term plan is to increase the number of working ambulances to 120. EMS officers have increased from 742 (2018) to 791 (2019) and the department would like to increase the officers to 1200 to reduce responding time. In addition to this, seven advanced life support paramedics will be employed in this year.
South Africa plans to reach the 90-90-90 HIV target by 2020 December as well as the ‘Stop TB’ strategy. The Northern Cape has more than 59 000 people on treatment while the HIV positivity rate has remained stable at 4% year to year. To strengthen preventative programs towards sexually transmitted infections, the department will distribute more than 15 million condoms throughout the province.
1200 adherence clubs will be set up across the province with 5000 clients being enrolled in the first year. For the 2019/20 financial year, R31 million has been allocated from the HIV conditional grant to help fight the scourge of TB.
The budget will be used to find the 4 189 defaulting TB patients.
The death ratio in hospitals is at 71 per 100 000 which is significantly better than the previous 115 per 100 000. The neonatal death rate has improved at 11.6 per 1000 against the previous 14.5 per 1000. The death rate of children under five years has decreased to 4.5 per 1000 children .
The budget allocation to each programme in 2019/20 is as follows:
1. Administration: R219 million or 4.2%
2. District Health Services: R2.4 billion or 46.3%
3. Emergency Medical Services R362 million or 6.9%
4. Regional and Specialized Hospitals: R409 million or 7.9%
5. Tertiary Hospitals: R1.1 billion or 22.1%
6. Health sciences and training: R140 million or 2.7%
7. Health care support services: R123 million or 2.4%
8. Infrastructure health facilities management: R390 million or 7.5%