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Doubling up on health care

By unknown | Aug 22, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Khanyisile Nkosi and Mhlaba Memela

Khanyisile Nkosi and Mhlaba Memela

The national Departments of Health and Defence have signed an agreement of collaboration in a bid to strengthen access to health care services.

Making the announcement at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital yesterday, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said the collaboration was just what the country needed.

Tshabalala-Msimang said from now on, government hospitals would open their doors to military personnel. Civilian patients would also be able to go to military hospitals for health care services.

The country has three military hospitals - in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

The collaboration, Tshabalala-Msimang said, would help alleviate challenges that continue to hamper the delivery of public health care services.

"We will now be able to refer our patients to military hospitals while taking responsibility for the associated costs. The collaboration will also allow for greater access not only to hospitals but ambulance services as well," said Tshabalala-Msimang.

She said the move would also boost the country's preparedness to take care of the health care needs of guests coming to the country for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

She said her department was working on plans to retain health professionals and that she is expecting more doctors from Cuba.

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said the collaboration would also enable the two departments to build extra health care facilities to ensure that quality service was provided.

"With this kind of collaboration both departments join their budgets and will be able to build more facilities if the need arises. It is something that a single department has not been able to do," said Lekota.

He added that the collaboration would also bring health care services closer to military personnel such as pensioners who, until now, could only be treated at military hospitals.


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