According to the annual report for the year 2011/12, the Gauteng Department of Health has made good progress towards the attainment of the goal of a long and healthy life for all South Africans.
During this time, the department was beset by accruals, the resignation of the Head of Department and the transfer of Chief Financial Officer to the National Department of Health but staff continued to prioritise the interests of patients.
This is evident in the increase of the number of visits to Primary Health Care Facilities to 22 million during the year under review.
Despite this increase, there are indications that individuals continue to bypass clinics for hospitals. In order to address this inappropriate entry into the health system, the department has increased the number of medical doctors in clinics. Every Community Health Centre has a resident doctor and all clinics in each district are being supported by obstetricians and paediatricians.
Another milestone for the department is the decrease of maternal deaths in our facilities from 167.7/100 000 live births in the period 2005 to 2007 to 145/100 000 live births for the period 2008-2010. Amongst the service improvements that were made in the last financial year towards achieving this goal were opening of an additional Kangaroo Mother Care unit in Tshwane District Hospital and ensuring that three out of every four new mothers were visited at home within six days of delivery.
To decrease child mortality, the department had aggressive campaigns on breastfeeding which is regarded as an effective way of boosting infant survival rates. Immunisation is another critical intervention aimed at increasing child survival. The percentage of children under one year who were fully immunised was 115.1% in the year under review. The national target is 90%.
The province is also making progress in the fight against HIV and Aids. By the end of the year under review, a total of 399 484 patients were receiving Anti-Retroviral Treatment, including 23 917 children. A99% coverage of babies who are born of HIV positive mothers was achieved. The Medical Male Circumcision sites were increased from 38 to 43 and a total of 51 205 males were circumcised.
With regards to Infrastructure Development, Bertha Gxowa Hospital in Germiston was opened and a major revitalisation of Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital was completed and handed over.
Construction of the new Natalspruit Hospital was 84% complete by the end of the year under review, while Jabulani/Zola Hospital was at 91%. It is planned that construction of these hospitals will be completed by the end of the current financial year and they will be fully functional by the end of the first quarter of 2013/14.
The department also made tremendous progress in paying service providers. On average, the department requires R650 million for goods and services on a monthly basis based on commitments, which includes R250 million for medical supplies.
In spite the shortfall that the department experiences, it continues to make savings on areas that were identified in November 2011. These include savings on National Health Laboratory Services, blood services and products, Electronic Gate-Keeping which is now implemented in 20 hospitals. Since the beginning of this financial year, we have made savings of up to R65 million.
Health professionals have noted that more people are presenting with lifestyle illnesses. In the year under review, 40 656 new cases of diabetes, and 87 047 new cases of hypertension were diagnosed at our clinics. The department will continue to encourage the practice of healthy lifestyles which include exercising and eating healthy food.
The department is determined to improve performance and to achieve the outcome of a long and healthy life for all South Africans.
“We will spare no effort to instil discipline, to improve financial management and to run an efficient as well as effective health system,” says spokesperson, Simon Zwane.