Occassion of the first brick laying and handover of the site of the new De-Aar hospital

ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE PREMIER OF THE NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCE, MS HAZEL JENKINS ON THE OCCASSION OF THE FIRST BRICK LAYING AND HANDOVER OF THE SITE OF THE NEW DE AAR HOSPITAL, PIXLEY KA-SEME DISTRICT, 15 OCTOBER 2010.

Programme Director

Members of the Northern Cape Executive Council, in particular MEC for Health, Mr. Mxolisi Sokatsha

Members of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature

Chairperson and Members of the Provincial Portfolio Committee on Health

Honourable Mayors, Mr Z. Lolwana and Mr. K Marman

All Municipal Councillors

Hospital Board Members Esteemed Guests

All NGO’s and Strategic partners

Today Marks yet another significant milestone in the quest to improve service delivery to our people, as we assemble to lay the first brick and handover the site for the construction of the new De Aar Hospital.

This occasion is another milestone development in the construction and expansion of modern and world class health infrastructure to our people.

We are beginning to take active measures to strengthen our public health sector so that it is in a position to produce better health outcomes. These measures involve the improvement in the quality standards and management of our health facilities; strengthened human resource planning aimed at addressing shortages of human resources and conditions of work; and the distribution of essential drugs to all health facilities.

As government we are guided by the constitution: Chapter 2, the Bill of Rights, the “Batho Pele-People First” principles and the Health related Millennium Development Goals (MDG) with 2014 as the target date. The constitution in the bill of rights, Chapter two, clearly states that “Everyone has the right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care and no one may be refused emergency treatment”.

The “Batho Pele – people first principles” guides government in terms of service delivery to our people and it is our duty to ensure that these principles of consultation, access to services, openness and transparency, quality of services etc. are adhered to and upheld.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG’S) serve as markers of the most basic challenges ahead relating to health and these are: To Stop women from dying during pregnancy and child birth, to protect young children from ill-health and death, and to tackle the major communicable diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS. It will only be through partnerships between government, business, labour and civil society that we will be able to achieve these goals by 2014.

Furthermore, as the ANC led government of South Africa, we have an obligation towards the healthcare of our people. In this light, as a response to the call of our people during the April 2009 elections, health has been prioritised as one of the five key areas together Crime, Education, Rural development and Job creation for the next remaining years. In addition, government developed a Ten Point Plan to address the service delivery challenges faced by the health sector.

The construction of the new De Aar Hospital is a direct response to Point 3- Improving the quality of health services as well as point six (6) – Revitalisation of infrastructure of the health sector as outlined in the Ten Point Plan.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to take this opportunity to quote his Excellency the President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma, in his State of the Nation Address on 11 February 2010 when he stated that: “We will continue to improve our healthcare system. This includes building and upgrading hospitals and clinics and further improving the working conditions of healthcare workers”. Today, as the ANC led government, we are adhering to the call of our President with the laying of the first Brick and the handover of the site for the new De Aar Hospital.

The new De Aar hospital will be constructed at a cost of R350 Million rand over a three year period starting October 2010. A full range of Level 1 services (52 beds), Level 2 services (27 beds) and 21 Step down beds will be provided which among others will include surgery, gynaecology , paediatrics, ophthalmologists, doctors, dentists and EMS services etc. Accommodation will be available for drug resistant TB (63 beds in-patients for the area. Level 1 referrals from surrounding Clinics and CHC’s will also be done at the De Aar Hospital which will in turn lead to a reduction in referring Level 1 and Level 2 cases to Kimberley. Staff accommodation at the hospital will also be available to attract the necessary personnel.

Programme Director, the construction of the new hospital will contribute towards boosting the economy of the region in terms job creation for our local people which will in turn lead to much needed income for poverty stricken households.

We call upon members of the De Aar community to avail themselves for the job opportunities that will arise during the construction of the new hospital.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the main health challenges in our province are TB and HIV/AIDS. TB is one of the major killers in our province and our country. TB, coupled with the HIV and AIDS prevalence is spreading at an alarming rate through our communities with an increased number of people contracting TB coupled with patients not completing or defaulting on the intake of their medication. This is despite the fact that TB is curable. When you don’t take your treatment in the manner that you should, the TB you have may evolve in more serious forms of TB like MDR and XDR.

The ANC led government’s HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) Campaign is a direct response aimed at increasing our efforts to address the scourge of HIV and AIDS in our province and country in general. This campaign is undertaken under the banner. “I am responsible .... We are responsible.... South Africa is taking responsibility”. We encourage everyone to take personal and collective responsibility to stop the spread of new HIV infections, provide care and support to those living with HIV and ensure access to treatment for all people in need.

HIV/AIDS and TB does not discriminate on the grounds of race, gender or sexual orientation. We are all exposed to these disease and it is the responsibility of all of us to contribute in the war against these diseases. We call upon each and every one of you to support, attend and be part of these government and community programmes and initiatives aimed at intensifying and strengthening our combined efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS. I therefore make an impassioned plea to all the people of the Northern Cape: KNOW YOUR STATUS, GET TESTED, PLEASE!

Ladies and Gentlemen today we are obliged to appreciatively acknowledge the efforts of the ANC led government’s endeavours in continuously working towards the improvement of our people’s lives and bettering healthcare service delivery. We need the new hospital to be an inspiration to the children and the youth of Pixley- Ka Seme for them to aspire to be the nurses and doctors like those who will be coming here to provide vital health services. The people of Pixley—ka-Seme must be proud the day that they are treated by a doctor that was born and bred in this district. There are many opportunities for the youth in the health sector through bursaries and as a province we need doctors nurses, paramedics etc.

In conclusion, it is with great honour, pride and enthusiasm that we officially hand over the site and lay the first brick for the construction of the new De Aar Hospital

Working together we can do more!

I thank you

Ndiyabulela

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