Am­bu­lance van­dal­ism hurts all

African Times - - Politics - LU­CAS LED­WABA

HOSPI­TAL work­ers at the Ge­orge Masebe hospi­tal in Lim­popo dis­cov­ered one morn­ing that one of the am­bu­lances at the fa­cil­ity had gone miss­ing dur­ing the night.

A fran­tic call was made to po­lice who im­me­di­ately launched a spir­ited search for the Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices [EMS] ve­hi­cle which had been stolen by thugs who ap­peared to have cut through a fence at the Water­berg hospi­tal.

It may never be known just how many lives were lost or pa­tients in­con­ve­nienced by the theft of the EMS ve­hi­cle in this re­mote area where many of the ci­ti­zens are poor and rely solely on pub­lic health and emer­gency care for ser­vices.

But the theft, van­dal­ism and hi­jack­ing of emer­gency health care ser­vice ve­hi­cles is a re­al­ity that con­tin­ues to haunt the de­part­ment of health and in turn, com­mu­ni­ties.

In her bud­get vote speech this week, Lim­popo health MEC Dr Phophi Ra­math­uba said to date, the de­part­ment has pro­cured a to­tal of 250 EMS ve­hi­cles.

“Our concern is that only 227 are on the road as a re­sult of theft, hi­jack, van­dal­ism, mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents and dam­ages by com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing protests,” Ra­math­uba told the Lim­popo pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture dur­ing the de­liv­ery of her bud­get vote speech.

She said in re­sponse to the chal­lenge, the de­part­ment has suc­cess­fully in­tro­duced sys­tems for fleet man­age­ment.

Ra­math­uba said th­ese would in­clude the Push-to Talk com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem in all con­trol cen­tres and am­bu­lances.

“We are cur­rently in­stalling ac­tive ve­hi­cle track­ing in all EMS ve­hi­cles. This should im­prove our abil­ity to ren­der emer­gency ser­vices ef­fi­ciently. But equally we are call­ing upon com­mu­ni­ties to pro­tect th­ese prop­er­ties since they are theirs and are meant to save their lives,” she said.

She said one of the fo­cus ar­eas for the 2018/19 fi­nan­cial year would be to equip EMS ve­hi­cles with skilled per­son­nel and equip­ment.

In re­la­tion to HIV\Aids, Ra­math­uba said by the third quar­ter the de­part­ment re­duced mother to child HIV trans­mis­sion from the an­nual tar­get of 1.1% to 0.7%.

“This means that 99.3 per­cent of ba­bies born to HIV pos­i­tive moth­ers are HIV neg­a­tive. Th­ese chil­dren would not be sub­jected to an­tiretro­vi­ral for life,” said Ra­math­uba.

Ra­math­uba said Lim­popo con­tin­ues to con­trib­ute to the coun­try’s suc­cess­ful ART pro­gram with 319 174 peo­ple re­main­ing on the ini­tia­tive. She said this was against a tar­get of 317 551 in the third quar­ter.

In a pro­gres­sive move that could boost gov­ern­ment’s fight against HIV\Aids, two of the prov­ince’s eco­nomic giants have part­nered with the de­part­ment to help fight the scourge.

Min­ing giants Exxaro and tomato farm­ing con­glom­er­ate ZZ2 have been for­mally li­censed by the de­part­ment to pro­vide ARVs. This is de­spite them not be­ing med­i­cal sites. How­ever both com­pa­nies are ma­jor em­ploy­ers in the prov­ince whose econ­omy re­lies heav­ily on min­ing and agri­cul­ture.

Ra­math­uba also re­vealed that the univer­si­ties of Lim­popo and Venda have also been or­mally li­censed to pro­vide ARVs.

She said they have also estab­lished 11 clin­ics at all the TVET sites fo­cus­ing not just on HIV/AIDS but also on re­pro­duc­tive health for the girl child in line with the SHE CON­QUERS Cam­paign. “All th­ese part­ner­ships are prov­ing suc­cess­ful in in­creas­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity to ARTs. We call upon other com­pa­nies to join in this cam­paign. With­out a healthy work force we will never grow our econ­omy, cre­ate new jobs and at­tract new in­vest­ments,” said Ra­math­uba.

Still on the fight against HIV\Aids, Ra­math­uba said the de­part­ment has dis­trib­uted more than 73 mil­lion male con­doms and 2 mil­lion fe­male con­doms by the third quar­ter.

Added to that, a to­tal num­ber of 48 959 men un­der­went the snip against the an­nual tar­get of 36 910 in the third quar­ter. She called on more men to take the plunge and get the snip, a ser­vice that is pro­vided free of charge at pub­lic health cen­tres.

Ra­math­uba said the 2018/19 over­all bud­get for health vote has in­creased by 8.1% from the 2017/18 main ap­pro­pri­a­tion and by 4.9% from the ad­justed ap­pro­pri­a­tion.

She said eq­ui­table share will grow by 3.8%, and 12.3% on con­di­tional grants from the 2017/18 ad­justed al­lo­ca­tion.

Ba­si­cally, this that the to­tal bud­get in­di­cates a growth from R18.6 bil­lion this fi­nan­cial year to R19.5 bil­lion in 2018/19. She said the al­lo­ca­tion grows by an aver­age of 5.5% over the Medium Term Ex­pen­di­ture Frame­work.

Bud­get at a glance:

• Strength­en­ing Dis­trict Health Ser­vices (Pri­mary Health­care) and dis­trict hospi­tal de­liv­ery sys­tems: R10.5 bil­lion. This is 54% of the to­tal bud­get of the de­part­ment. The bud­get of this pri­or­ity grows by an aver­age of 5.3% over the next years.

• R2.5 bil­lion has been al­lo­cated for Re­gional and Psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals.

• An amount of R68 mil­lion has been al­lo­cated to­wards the sup­port of our home-based Car­ers.

Dr Phophi Ra­math­uba. Picture: Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Vis­ual Buzz SA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.