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Investing in people's health

By unknown | May 29, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Thobeka Dhlomo

Thobeka Dhlomo

The "Wealth through Health" budget presented last Friday by North West MEC for health Nomonde Rasmeni, pictured, will focus mainly on beefing up the human capacity of the service.

In presenting a budget of R3,7billion, Rasmeni, pictured, said the department would use the funds to fill vacant posts, improve the pay packages of health professionals and train more nurses and associated professionals.

Rasmeni said more HIV-Aids treatment sites would also be opened to increase the number of patients receiving the treatment from 24142 to 33000.

The strategic plan for this period has incorporated key national health system priorities, and, according to Rasmeni, the budget would cover enough ground to lay a basis for wealth through health.

"The administration programme will continue to focus on strengthening resources by filling health professional's posts.

"This will be done to fill replacement vacancies and fill the posts that come about as a result of newly approved structures," Rasmeni said.

She said the new remuneration dispensation for health professionals, which is in line with national guidelines, was under way. Nursing professionals would be the first to benefit.

In order to implement the salary increases, Rasmeni said the province would require R94million a year.

She also said that because of budgetary pressures, further allocations would be necessary to accommodate the increases in performance pay, grade progression payments as well as the filling of new posts.

The department is looking to fund a community services programme to ensure that under-serviced communities had access to healthcare services as well as increased medical internships for nurses.

Primary healthcare delivery through district healthcare services is to be strengthened through integrated decentralisation of emergency medical rescue services and phasing-in of forensic medical services over the next two years.

The department has budgeted R42million for the procurement of new ambulances to meet demand for the 2010 World Cup.

In addition, mobile clinics will be beefed up along the fan parks, and institutions and ambulances will be equipped with world class equipment.

Rasmeni committed her department to developing the provincial and central hospital services to deliver services appropriate for this level of care.

"These hospitals are also augmented by the tertiary grant. Though the grant is a small proportion of the overall budget, it helps the department to develop tertiary services," Rasmeni said.

Overall, the grant and programme increases by 8,5 percent to R12 million in 2007-08, R12,7million in 2008-09 and R9,7million in 2009-2010.

The HIV-Aids budget shows some growth, but not at expected levels, given the burden of the disease. The growth is at nine percent from 2006-07, which amounts to R156,4 million against R142,3 million in the past year, which should enable the department to increase the number of people on treatment.

This increase will put 13000 more people on treatment. To deal with the increased demand for treatment, the department continuously accredits new sites to provide antiretroviral treatment.

Since the inception of the treatment programme, 24142 patients are currently receiving treatment, exceeding the targeted figure of 20000.

The department aims to increase the number of patients on treatment by at least 10000, to treat a total of 33000.


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