|New clinic in Pampierstad|
Speech by the Honorable MEC for Health, Mr Mxolisi Sokatsha on the occasion of the official opening of the Eleanor “Nomimi” Mothibi Clinic in Pampierstad, Frances Baard District – Northern Cape
31 March 2010 – 10H00
Good morning to all the people of Pampierstad. I am indeed very honored to be part of today’s important gathering in celebrating the official opening of the new Eleanor “Nomimi” Mothibi Clinic here in Pampierstad.
As government, in our efforts to provide and improve service delivery to our citizens, we are guided by principles of “Batho Pele- People first”. The people of Pampierstad are truly experiencing the spirit of “Batho pele” today. According to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights, Chapter two, it 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”.
His Excellency, Mr Jacob Zuma, President of the country, in his State of the Nation Address on 11 February 2010 stated that: “Another key outcome is to ensure a long and healthy life for all South-Africans. We will continue to improve our healthcare system”.
As government, and specifically the Department of Health, we are guided by the six (6) health related Millennium Development Goals(MDG) with 2015 as the target date. The MDG’s serve as markers of the most basic challenges ahead: 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.
Programme Director, the new Eleanor “Nomimi” Mothibi clinic, we are opening here today, must be seen as a response to the calls made by our people during the April 2009 elections to improve health service delivery which led to the ANC identifying Health as one of it’s key priority areas for the next five years. In the health sector there have been many achievements in improving access to health care, but more needs to be done in terms of quality care, making services available and ensuring better health outcomes for all.
President Jacob Zuma on 09 January 2010 stated that: “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, a strengthened human resource planning aimed at addressing shortages of human resources and conditions of work.”
Ladies and gentlemen, during 2008 the Department of Health launched the newly renovated Jan Kempdorp Treatment Site for HIV and Aids in partnership with Right to Care. This site is available to all surrounding communities and is evidence of how government is bringing services closer to the people. This is a true reflection that successful implementation of health care programmes depends on effective partnerships with institutions of civil society in improving the delivery of quality health care.
Overhauling of the national health system has been identified by government as a key aspect. This will assist government in attaining our health priorities for the next five years. A ten point plan for the health sector has been drawn up and among these priorities is the accelerated implementation of the HIV and AIDS strategic plan, the need to address the co-infection of TB/HIV, revitalization of infrastructure and to increase governments focus on the high burden of disease. Government’s aim is to reduce the rate of new HIV infections by 50% by the year 2011 and reach 80% of those in need of ARV treatment also by 2011.
President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of World Aids Day on 01 December 2009 stated that: “As from 01 April 2010 As from April 2010 all pregnant women with a CD4 of 350 or with symptoms regardless of CD4 count, will have more access to treatment. All other pregnant women who are HIV+ will be put on treatment at fourteen(14) weeks of pregnancy to protect the baby”.
Ladies and gentlemen, I appeal to you, as the community of Pampierstad, to appreciate and access all the health services at the new clinic. The new clinic will strengthen the existing health system in delivering a package of essential health services to all. Furthermore, the new facility, erected at a cost of six million rand (R6M), is within the community and is easily within the reach of most of the people. Accommodation facilities have been added to all new clinics to ensure we attract and retain healthcare professionals to our rural areas and ensure they have adequate living space to provide exceptional service to our people.
It is the duty of every citizen to exercise their rights and inform government of service delivery challenges being faced. The following areas of improvement within the healthcare sector has been identified against which facilities are measured as indicated by the Deputy-Minister of Health, Dr Molefi Sefularo: ”Safety of patients, preventing and controlling infections, improving the availability of medicines, reducing waiting times for patients, improving cleanliness and creating a positive and caring attitude among health workers”.
The main health challenges we face as a country and a province, are TB and HIV/AIDS. TB is one of the major killers in our country. This is despite the fact that TB is curable. It is reported that some people do not want to take their medication. They don’t want to be cured because they want to benefit from the temporary disability grant. However, what they forget is that they may also die as a result of their behaviour.
When we speak about TB it is important that we also speak about HIV and AIDS. We know that there is a close link between HIV and TB. This does not mean that every person who has TB is HIV positive. But if you are HIV positive you are very likely to have TB. However even in this case TB can be cured, it only means that you must take your medication.
Programme director, I think it is appropriate to quote President Jacob Zuma during his speech on 09 January 2010: “Further responses by our government include the integration of TB and HIV and AIDS treatment sites, so that people do not have to travel from one site to the next in order to receive testing and counseling”.
Ladies and gentlemen, as government we are committed to address the challenges of the past, which has left a large part of the population without adequate health care services and facilities. Much progress has been by the government in improving the lives and health of millions of citizens, but we must remember that this is an ongoing process. Although numerous challenges influence health service delivery in our communities and at health care facilities, we are working together with all relevant departments and partners to address these challenges.
We want to motivate and urge our people to continue supporting the international campaign of 16 Days of Activism: No violence against women and children under the theme: “Halve gender based violence by 2015”.
This campaign aims to make people aware of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse. Government is committed to building a caring and peaceful society that protects its women and children from all forms of violence.
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to urge all parents to take their children to the clinic for their immunizations from April- May 2010. All our children have to get immunized against Measles and Polio and to be provided with Vitamin A and deworming medication.
I would like to conclude by reiterating the importance of community involvement and participation as well as the process of consultation. Government alone cannot do everything. With the community’s help and inputs, can the planning and the management of healthcare services in your community be successful. We must get involve in local structures like clinic committees regarding healthcare services and through this you can assist in the monitoring of the Batho pele principles and the Patients Charter Rights.
In closing, I want to say that this clinic belongs to all in Pampierstad. It is your responsibility as community members to take care of it and protect it from vandalism.
The new clinic is named in memory of the late Comrade Eleanor “Nomimi” Mothibi. She was originally from Gugulethu in Cape Town and she relocated to Pampierstad when she got married to Mr Mothibi. She was an active member of the ANC Women’s League in Gugulethu and when she came to Pampierstad, she continued with the struggle of mobilizing the women under the banner of the ANC. She worked tirelessly with comrades such as Maseperepere, Popo Molefe, Manne Dipico and many other comrades.
People of Pampierstad, it is with great pleasure that we now officially open the new Eleanor “Nomimi” Mothibi Clinic and I trust and hope the services here will meet your needs and expectations.
Working together, we can do more!