Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Launch of Refurbished Projects at the Kimberley Hospital Complex

Speech by the Honourable MEC for Health, Mr Mxolisi Sokatsha
Good morning all. It is indeed a honour and privilege for me to be part of this auspicious occasion. Today, as the ANC led government, we celebrate yet another milestone in the improvement of health service delivery to our people as we officially launch a number of refurbished projects here at the Kimberley Hospital Complex.

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Ladies and gentlemen, Chapter two of the Constitution containing the Bill of Rights, 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 medical treatment”. As the Northern Cape Provincial Government through the Department of Health we are committed towards achieving and realizing this right and ensure that all in the province are experiencing this.

As the ANC led government, we are continuously working towards improving service delivery to our people to ensure they receive quality and professional government services. Government has identified the need to overhaul the national health system. This overhaul will assist us in the attainment of our health priorities for the next five years.

In addition, the issues raised by communities in the build-up to the April 2009 national elections provided the basis for Health being prioritized as part of the five priority areas to which the ANC led government has committed to deliver on in the next five years. Based on this, the delivering and accessing of essential health services through these projects, is a direct response to the call of the people.

Furthermore, government developed a Ten Point Plan to address the service delivery challenges faced by the health sector. The launch of these refurbished projects is a direct response to Point 3 –Improving the quality of health services and Point 6 – Revitalization of infrastructure.

Ladies and gentleman, the following refurbished projects are being launched today:

  • Refurbished private consulting rooms/wards

The aim of this project is to generate revenue from patients with Medical Aid as well as private paying patients. The project started in 2002 with 24 multi – disciplinary beds for adults, 4 Maternity and 6 Paediatric beds. The private wards were upgraded during 2011, adding hotel amenities like television sets, air conditioning, lighting, upgrading of en suite bathrooms, new curtains and linen

  • Refurbishment of Paediatrics Specialised Clinics

This project started between 2009 and 2010.The services were provided from old untherapeutic structures which resulted in over-crowding, lack of privacy, poor infection control practices and low staff morale. Patient safety was duly compromised as well.

  • Establishment of Help Desk (Hotline)

The Patients’ Rights Charter has made clear responsibilities of our health facilities in delivering care that meets the principles of the Batho Pele. The Charter specifies that the most critical rights of patients should be respected and uplifted, including the rights of access to basic care and to respectful, informed and dignified attention in an acceptable and hygienic environment. A free hotline will be in operation from 01 November 2011.The public will be able to phone in free of charge – Hotline numbers are 0800 009112 and 0800 009113. The following will be managed at the Help Desk;

- Enquiries regarding patients that have been admitted in hospital

-Clients who are dissatisfied with the services can lodge a complaint or make a suggestion on how to improve our services

- Information on how to access our services

- Staff to respect and promote the rights and responsibilities of the patient/client.

  • Procurement of 4 new anaesthetic machines

The increasing complexity of the surgical cases that we are dealing with in KHC, and the specialities (Cardio Thorax, Neurosurgery, Head and Neck Surgery) that were added onto our service delivery package, it was imperative for us to upgrade the technology of the anaesthesia machines to support the level of anaesthesia required. We have received 4 new state-of- the- art machines on 14 October 2011. This upgrade is allowing us to render the best service to all the people of the Northern Cape Province

  • Digital X – Ray Machine

Radiology is the key diagnostic tool for many diseases and has an important role in monitoring treatment and predicting outcome. The department consists of three x-ray sections and it delivers a 24 hour services. The Department has systematically undergone a metamorphosis to a fully functional department. For many years our patients have been forced to walk the corridors between specialized clinics and Main x-rays to be x-rayed. Some of these patients, many of them moving with difficulty as a result of post traumatic injuries, had to walk these corridors on crutches. Patient waiting periods on busy days ranged from 1 to 3 hours. These patients often became lost, contributing even more to the already long waiting periods. This contributed to patients traveling from district hospitals to reach their destinations very late. We have installed a fully digital x-ray system at the specialized clinic. This unit now services all our patients visiting the specialized clinics, and waiting periods have been reduced from 1-3 hrs to 15-20 minutes. All images can be viewed on a viewing station by the doctors and no big x-ray envelopes given to the patients.

  • Satellite Blood Bank

The establishment of a blood bank within the premises of a hospital is a requirement to quality health services to the patients. Currently the blood bank is outside of Kimberley hospital and this poses a number of challenges when it comes to the delivery of emergency blood and blood products. In view of this the relocation of Kimberley Blood Bank will improve the following:

-The time spent in the delivering and fetching ordered blood – particular in emergency situations.

-A closer interaction between the blood bank and clinicians ordering blood leading to an improved understanding of the patient / clinician circumstances and the blood bank circumstances and requirements.

-Better usage of limited blood supplies, especially group 0 blood, due to the greater usage of the “Type, screen & hold” procedure where blood units are only cross-matched when actually needed. This would also result in cost savings for the Kimberley Hospital Complex.

Programme director, the delivery of essential and quality health services in a safe and healthy environment to our people in the Northern Cape remains a challenge, but as the Northern Cape Provincial Government and the Department of Health, we will continue to utilize all resources available to improve service delivery to all and create a better life for all. “Batho pele- People first”, the Constitution and the Patients Charter will be our guiding lights to delivery on our mandate and ensure quality health service excellence to all.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to shift the focus to some important health issues. Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) are assuming alarming proportion in South Africa. These are your diseases like high blood pressure, hypertension, cholesterol, high sugar levels ect. They account for a larger number of deaths and therefore increase the diseases burden in the country. Currently South Africa is rated three times higher than developed countries according to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the burden of NCDs. This is putting burden on the health system of the country. The promotion of healthy lifestyles has been prioritized as one the critical programmes that needed to be advocated robustly throughout the country among members of the community. Exercise, healthy eating, reducing alcohol intake and smoking will contribute to a more healthy lifestyle.

Breastfeeding is in the process of repositioning and promoted as a key child survival strategy in South Africa. The benefits of breastfeeding are well recognised for both infant and mother. Breastfeeding has profound impact on child’s survival, health, nutrition and development – and we have known this for decades. These benefits will obviously be lost when formula feeding is given. We must all partner to scale up promotion, support and protection of breastfeeding to improve child survival. Encouraging breastfeeding, providing accurate information about the benefits of breastfeeding and support will increase awareness, acceptance, and will encourage more women to do what is best for their babies - and that is to breastfeed.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to request all to continue with the HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign and get yourself and your partner tested for HIV. If you get tested, you will know your status and adapt your lifestyle accordingly. Eating more healthy foods and exercising regularly.

Programme Director, I want to conclude by saying that these projects of government are aimed at responding to healthcare service delivery challenges in our province and should be the motivation to make a difference and change the lives of the people of Northern Cape for the better.

On behalf of the Northern Cape Provincial Government and the Department of Health, I now officially declare these projects launched.

Working together, we can do more!

Thank you!




Kimberley, Frances Baard District – Northern Cape, 28 October 2011: 11H00

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