Revitalising health in South Africa’s Eastern Cape

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Mothers and children wait for treatment at a community health clinic in Johannesburg (Photo: City of Johannesburg)

Two hospitals and eight clinics in the OR Tambo district are to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch as part of a massive overhaul of the health care system in the Eastern Cape, according to South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
There are major health, financial and resources challenges in the Eastern Cape. This was especially the case in OR Tambo, one of 11 districts selected to pilot South Africa’s National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. Motsoaledi said OR Tambo had been chosen as a pilot district “specifically because we wanted to take that opportunity to fix a multiplicity of problems the district is experiencing”. The district has 167 clinics, 12 community health centres, 13 district hospitals, two regional hospitals and three specialised hospitals. Among the eight clinics to be demolished, five of them will be built during this financial year, with contractors due on site by January 2014. In addition, two nursing colleges, Butterworth Nursing College and Madzine-Ka-Zulu Nursing College, would be fully refurbished, with work starting in October and due for completion by March.
Motsoaledi said the national department was working around the clock with the provincial department of halth to improve infrastructure in the rest of the province.
“We are implementing 287 projects covering new additions, upgrades, renovations and maintenance work in 132 facilities. One hundred and fifty-nine of these projects are at construction phase, while the rest are at developmental phase.”

Gabi Khumalo SAnews.gov.za

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