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Tsopo: Free State Health Focus Month: Philani Service Excellence Awards (20/11/2003)

20th February 2003


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Date: 20/11/2003
Source: Free State Provincial Government
Title: Tsopo: Free State Health Focus Month: Philani Service Excellence Awards


Programme Director; Honoured Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen,


We are now almost a week and a half before we bring closure to our Health Focus Month programme within which this Philani Awards ceremony falls. So far, as I have pointed out during some of the occasions that constitute this programme, this programme has been running smoothly and with no hiccups at all. During the Choir Competition in Welkom this past Tuesday, I expressed my delight at the fact that this department is now excelling in terms of events management. This is part of the excellence that we are celebrating today.

Programme director, I am aware that as managers and personnel in this department, as well as many of our stakeholders, we are not all able to be at all the events that are being organised in the department at all times. Allow me therefore to bring this audience up to speed as regard the unfolding of this November Health Focus Month programme before I dwell on the business of the day. I have already hinted that, this Philani Awards ceremony constitute part of the Health Focus Month programme that I believe we all know by now occurs every November. Like I have also indicated the programme is now almost a week and a half before it comes to an end.

Now what has happened so far in terms of the implementation of this programme. First to start with, we started this programme with an intensive health promotion exercises in the rural areas during which we visited five farms, one in each of the districts of the province. We also embarked on the programme of opening clinics in the province. Clinics have been opened in the three districts of the province, one at Theunissen in the Lejweleputswa district, one at Lindley in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district and another one in Thaba Nchu in the Motheo district.

On Sunday, 9 November, we held a prayer service graced by both the honourable Minister, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, and the honourable Premier, Ms Winkie Direko, at Pelonomi Hospital. On the 13th of this month we held health walks across the province in all the districts. These health walks symbolically took place simultaneously in several towns of the province. The purpose of these health walks was to educate our communities in the Free State around the importance of physical exercise in their lives for them to stay healthy. As a matter of fact, one other reason for the Health Focus Month programme is health promotion. Again on 14 November, while opening the Thaba Nchu clinic in the Motheo district, we also officially opened the Multiple Drug Resistance unit at Dr JS Moroka hospital.

On the 17th of this month we were at Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli hospital at a glittering occasion where we opened the eye care centre, the psychiatric and renal units as well as launching the HIV/AIDS videotapes. We were again honoured at this event by the presence of the honourable Minister, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. I must note at this point, ladies and gentlemen, that the continued presence of the honourable Minister in this province during our activities, and the presence of the Premier as well at our functions, is a recognition of the excellent work that you are performing in this province and in this department and you must pat yourself on the shoulder for this.

Furthermore, like I have pointed out, on the 18th of this month we also held the first part of this Philani Awards ceremony at the Harry Oppenheimer Theatre in Welkom, which is the Philani Choir Competition. Let me at this point congratulate all the choirs that really and indeed entertained us at this occasion. I must also congratulate the Bongani Hospital Choir for rising to the occasion and being the overall winner of this competition.

Programme director, ladies and gentlemen, yes indeed this November Health Focus Month is unfolding and has grown in stature over the years that it has been in existence. More events are still to follow in this remaining week and because we want you to support these events as they take place in various parts of the province I want to announce the remaining activities to you as follows:

* The Nursing Summit will be held on the 21st and 22nd of this month
* The opening of the Bophelong and Tshepong clinics in Welkom on the 24th
* The celebration of the ten years anniversary of Bongani Hospital on the 24th
* Opening of the Lesedi and Seeisoville clinics in Kroonstad on the 25th
* Raising the curtain for the revitalisation of Boitumelo Hospital on the 25th
* Renaming of the lecture hall and committee room at Universitas Hospital and the Faculty of Health Sciences on the 26th
* Opening of the I and E blocks and renaming of the maternity ward at Pelonomi hospital on the 27th
* Hosting the Workshop on Hospitals on the 27th and 28th
* Opening the hydroponic vegetable tunnel at Boitumelong School in Thaba Nchu on the 29th
* Celebration of the World AIDS Day on 1 December at Good Year Park stadium in Bloemfontein.

Honoured guests, now that you are all fully aware of these activities I hope that you will support them to the full. I want to particularly make a clarion call as regard the World AIDS Day that will be held on 1 December this year. I hope you are all aware that as the Free State we are hosting the national celebration of this day. This will take place at the Goodyear Park stadium here in Bloemfontein. We have to have maximum attendance and support at this celebration. Therefore, let each and everyone of us here and outside be the good ambassador and spread the message about this event. Let us all make sure that the Free State present a well organised event not only in the eyes all South Africans but the rest of the world since the World AIDS Day is a global event. Let me also do something that we do not often do but that has to be done: I want to make a special appeal to our white compatriots that these public events are not just meant for a specific group in our society but for all South Africans since we are all affected by the matters that lead to the hosting of these public events. HIV/AIDS, for example, is a pandemic that affects all South Africans, irrespective of colour or creed. Therefore, let this pandemic, and all other social issues, not be a concern to only a spacif group in our society but to all of us. We can sure that we are all concerned by becoming involved and attending occasions such as the World AIDS Day as they are convened.


Programme director, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, now to the business of the day. When I spoke at the Philani Choir Competition on Tuesday I started with these words: the moment of truth has arrived. I think these words are still applicable on this occasion and I want to repeat them: the moment of truth has arrived. As I explained at the choir competition the reason for me state this fact about the moment of truth is that during my visits to the institutions and districts in the province during the course of the year every institution and district was beating its chest to say to me that they will be scooping both the Philani Service Excellence and Choir Competition awards this year. Now, the second moment of truth has indeed arrived after the first one was passed last Tuesday. We are about to see or hear what will happen today.

Let me outline the categories in which these service excellence awards are divided. We have the following categories:

* Mobile clinic of the year
* Fixed clinic of the year
* District hospital complex of the year
* Community health centre of the year
* Regional hospital of the year
* Clinical department of the year at the academic health services complex
* Emergency medical services station of the year
* Corporate management directorate of the year
* The best professional nurse
* The best health district.

We also have the revenue collection awards category that we introduced last year given the critical nature of revenue collection in the department. Special recognition award for excellence in revenue collection is awarded to the district, regional and academic hospitals.

In terms of the Premier's special recognition award the categories are also as follows:

* Mobile clinic
* Fixed clinic
* Community health centre
* District hospital
* Secondary hospital
* Emergency medical services
* Academic health services complex
* Corporate management directorates.

Ladies and gentlemen, as the Free State Department of Health, we are not just doing a sterling work and competing amongst ourselves, but we also do so on a national scale. It is for this reason that at this ceremony we will also be recognising individuals and institutions that have represented us well during the 2003 national Health Awards. These national awards were contested under the following categories:

* The district health system best practice award
* The Cecilia Makiwane nursing award
* The Khomanani health worker excellence award
* The Marilyn Lehana trust caring award.

Programme director, without pre-empting the announcement that will be made later about these 2003 national Health Awards let me state that as the Free State we have again done exceptionally well in these categories. We have been well represented indeed. The Minister has also congratulated us for doing well in these awards and I believe another round of applause should go to you as the Free State Department of Health family.


Honoured guests, let me in conclusion again express my happiness about the manner in which programmes and projects are being implemented in this department. The kind of a continuous and consistent implementation of programmes in the department must be sustained for years to come until we finally address the challenges that are still remaining. Even if I do not come back as the MEC for Health after next year's general elections, depending on the deployment that my party will deem fit for me, I will be glad to look back if I continue to see the good work that will continue to be sustained in this department.

As we are all aware, next year we will be going through another watershed event in our country, which is the national general elections where as citizens of this country we will be afforded another opportunity to elect a government of our choice. As we celebrate this Philani Service Excellence Awards ceremony, let us also remember that next year we will also be celebrating the tenth year anniversary of the democratic dispensation of this country. We should use that celebration as an opportunity to reflect on ourselves as the department to check as to what breakthroughs we have manage to make in terms of service delivery and transformation and also in terms of what challenges still remains ahead.

I want to take this opportunity to thank personnel and managers in the Free State Department of Health for continuing to work hard in their various posts.

I have no doubt that we will all reap the fruits of our labour in good time. In descending this stage let me pose a challenge to all the institutions in the province, particularly those that often come at the bottom of the list in this competition. The situation or trend in which we have certain institutions being winners in this competition almost every year has to be turned around. We can all be winners in terms of our performance. All that it requires is passion for what we do and everything else follows. At the choir competitions I presented a challenge to all the other choirs to break the trend of only one choir consistently being the overall winner in this choir competitions. Bongani Hospital rose to the challenge and did exactly that. Even with regard to the Service Excellence Awards I believe this is possible, in not this year perhaps next year. You just have to start now to win next time, if you do not win now. Let me also emphasise that it is not all about winning but about improving service delivery.

Programme director, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, let me wish everyone involved in this competition the best of luck and may the best win.

I thank you.

Issued by: Department of Health, Free State Provincial Government
20 November 2003


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