Keynote Address by the Honourable Premier, Ms Hazel Jenkins, on the occasion of the official opening of the new Mosalahuping Joseph Baicomedi Clinic-Madibeng. John Taolo Gaetsewe District – Northern Cape, 09 December 2011: 10h00
All Kgosis and Traditional Leadership
Members of the Executive Council
Members of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature
The Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee on Health
Executive Mayor of John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality
Mayors of Joe Morolong,Ga-Segonyana and Gamagara Local Municipalities
All District and Municipal Councillors present
Chairperson of the John Taolo Gaetsewe Development Trust, Ms Omphemetse Mogodi as well as members of the Trust
Representatives from all the different community, religious and political institutions and structures present
Senior Managers and Departmental officials from the Provincial and District Department of Health
Members of the media fraternity
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning to all the people of Madibeng. It gives us great joy to celebrate with you the opening of this health facility which will undoubtedly improve the quality of health of our people, especially in this part of the province.
The major priority of the Department of Health has been to improve access and the quality of health care through the primary health care system. The Primary Health Care approach, which emphasises inter-sectoral collaboration, community participation and equity, has been adopted as the model for the delivery of health services to communities.
As Premier of this beautiful Province, I am indeed honoured to be part of today’s important gathering in celebrating another milestone in the improvement of service delivery to our people through the official handover and opening of the new Mosalahuping Joseph Baicomedi Clinic here in Madibeng.
As the ANC-led government’s efforts to provide and improve service delivery to our citizens, we are guided by the principles of “Batho Pele”, putting our people first. The people of Madibeng are truly experiencing the spirit of “Batho pele” today. In accordance with the principles of “Batho Pele”, the motion of “Access”, has been the guiding principle for the establishment of this new clinic in Madibeng. This principle entails that all citizens should have equal access to the services of government to which they are legitimately entitled to.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the opening of this clinic is a direct response to the call of the people, which is the construction of a health facility to improve their access to a health facility which will safeguard the well-being of the community.
In addition, government developed a Ten Point Plan to address the service delivery challenges faced by the health sector. The construction and opening of the new clinic is a direct response to Point 3 – Improving the quality of health services as well as Point six (6) – Revitalization of infrastructure of the health sector Ten Point Plan.
In this light we have combined the opening of the new clinic with the Ministerial Health Campaign the Department of Health has been embarking on since August 2010. We urge all present to access the free health services on offer today which include blood pressure and sugar level testing, TB screening, HIV counselling and testing and condom distribution.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment that you have been waiting for has arrived. The opening of this clinic represents a very significant development right here within and amongst the people. To this effect, we will also be expanding the range of services that we will be providing to people through the primary health care service.
Most of our clinics, including this one, are being developed to provide a comprehensive package of health services. The services that will be provided here will be universally acceptable, accessible and the quality thereof will be assured. For us as the ANC-led government, we do not only seek to pursue delivery targets without quality, hence I am emphasizing this point of quality assurance.
Ladies and gentlemen, I thus appeal to you, as the community of Madibeng, to work with your new clinic and its staff and to take advantage of the benefits that this facility brings here. It is your duty to make decisions regarding your health, and to understand the causes of illnesses. It is also your responsibility to lead a healthy lifestyle through a healthy diet, regular exercise and by avoiding risky behaviour such as smoking and alcohol abuse.
The construction, official handover and opening of the new clinic has been made possible by the John Taolo Gaetsewe Development Trust. As the provincial government, we would like to extend our deep appreciation for the Trust’s contribution and we value their efforts to improving the lives of the people in Madibeng. The new clinic that we are opening here today was build at a cost of R6.9M and must be seen as a forward step to cost-effectiveness and sustainable integration of health services in this part of the province.
We are also elated at the fact that this new clinic is within walking distance for the people and also includes accommodation facilities for health professionals in order to attract health workers to the district and ensure they have comfortable housing to render quality health services to our people. Other facilities include a waiting area, maternity unit, consultation rooms, kitchen, office and a pharmacy.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to shift your attention to the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which are assuming alarming proportion in South Africa such as high blood pressure, hypertension, cholesterol and high sugar levels. They account for a larger number of deaths and therefore increase the diseases burden in the Province.
Ladies and Gentlemen currently, South Africa is rated three times higher than developed countries according to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the burden of NCDs. To this end, the promotion of healthy lifestyles has been prioritized as one the critical programmes that need to be advocated robustly throughout the Province. Exercise, healthy eating, reducing alcohol intake and smoking will contribute to a more healthy lifestyle.
In addition, Ladies and Gentlemen, breastfeeding is a key child survival strategy in South Africa. The benefits of breastfeeding are universally acknowledged for both infant and mother. Breastfeeding has a profound impact on a child’s survival, health, nutrition and development – and we have known this for decades. These benefits will obviously be lost when formula feeding is administered.
Programme Director, we must all partner to scale up the 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 and 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 of you 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.
Furthermore, I would like to remind you that we are commemorating an important international and national campaign namely the 16 Days of Activism of No violence against women and children campaign. From 25 November-10 December 2011, the South African Government is engaged in the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to make people aware of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse. We call on your support for all related programmes and events for the campaign.
Programme Director, 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 on its own. With your help and input the planning and the management of health services in your community will be successful.
We must get involved in local structures like clinic committees regarding health services and through this you can assist in the monitoring of the Batho Pele principles and the Patients Charter of Rights.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to say to you that this clinic belongs to all the people of Madibeng. It is your responsibility as community members to take care of it and protect it from vandalism and neglect.
Ladies and gentleman, the new clinic is named in memory of our late Comrade Mosalahuping Joseph Baicomedi who dedicated his entire life to the uplifment of our people. He was an activist who contributed greatly to the advancement of the quality of life of our people, especially in this part of the region. He was also instrumental in putting in place local government structures that is responsive to the needs of our people.
It is with great pleasure that I, on behalf of the ANC led Provincial Government and the John Taolo Gaetsewe Development Trust, now officially open the new Mosalahuping Joseph Baicomedi Clinic here in Madibeng and I trust and hope the services here will meet your needs and expectations.
This is your clinic. Cherish it. Protect it and use it to promote health within this community.
Working together, we can do more to bring about a better life for all!