Primary health care given a boost

08 July 2011 - 14:16 By Sapa

Gauteng health has increased the budget allocation for district health services by more than a billion rand, says MEC Ntombi Mekgwe.

Tabling her budget speech, she said R7,014 billion has been allocated to district health services which was an increase of 18 percent from the previous financial year's allocation.

The department has a total budget of R25,2 billion for the 2011/12 financial year.

Mekgwe also announced that 112 community services doctors have been placed in clinics and district hospitals this year to strengthen primary health care.

Teams of specialists who will focus on maternal and child mortality will be deployed to districts.

"In this regard, we are in the process of finalising appointments of principal obstetricians, principal paediatricians, advanced midwives and senior primary care nurses."

She said principal family physicians have been appointed and deployed to each district.

"These specialists will be supported by fellow specialists from universities, tertiary and regional hospitals," she said.

Of the 35 community health centres in Gauteng, 30 would operate for 24 hours in order to improve access to primary health care services.

"The measures announced will enable clinics to deal with an increasing demand for services. The number of visits to clinics has increased from 19 million in 2009/10 to 20 million in 2010/11."

The department has also prioritised the prevention of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis, the reduction of substance abuse, the availability of drugs, early childhood development, as well as preventing violence against women and children.

An amount of R1.9 billion had been allocated to the HIV/AIDS programme to enable the department to increase the number of people on anti-retroviral treatment to 520,000 by March 2012.