- The Health Department of the South African province Gauteng today announced its plans to build a new district hospital in Soweto this year. Soweto, just outside Johannesburg, is one of Africa's largest cities, known for its social problems and widespread poverty.
Gauteng minister Gwen Ramokgopa today announced the new plans. Speaking at the provincial health summit, Ms Ramokgopa said the new hospital, which will alleviate pressure from Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, will be built in the township of Zola.
The summit, held under the theme "Ke Nako Asisebenzeni" (Now is the time to work) is attended by councillors responsible for health, officials, health practitioners and other stakeholders to discuss practical way to improve the delivery of health care in clinics and district hospitals.
Two new clinics - the Mandela Sisulu and Bristlecone - were also to be constructed this year "to improve access to quality primary health care," a release from the Gauteng Provincial Government informs. The clinics are estimated to cost a total of R2.7 million.
The decision to build more new facilities follows an increase in the number of people using public clinics to access health care. The total number of people using these primary care facilities has increased from 4.1 million in 1997 to 13.2 million in the 2001/2002, according to Gauteng government statistics.
In the year 2000 a total of 1.48 million visits to clinics were by people seeking care for chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, 412,000 visits were from mothers seeking ante-natal care and 16 674 babies were delivered in primary care facilities. A total of approximately 320 000 consultations were for the treatment of sexually transmitted illnesses, including HIV/AIDS.
To assist local government to deliver quality services in their areas, the Gauteng health department has increased their allocation by about 10 percent to R341.1 million. Ekurhuleni Metro will receive about R121 million, Johannesburg Metro about R90 million, Tshwane Metro more than R42.6 million. A total of R31.3 million has been allocated to the West Rand District Council, more than R44.8 to Sedibeng District Council and Metsweding District Council will receive about R9.5 million.
Ms Ramokgopa said these allocations were intended to ensure that there was not reversal in the better health that the people of Gauteng have started to enjoy. "We have to build on the confidence that the people have shown in our primary health facilities by ensuring that we keep them in good condition. Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and work to ensure that the gains we have made in improving the health of our people are sustained," she said.
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