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  • NGOs complete online NCDs national survey today

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Motsoaledi looks to vaccines to strengthen public health system

Written by SA Government News.

Cape Town Parliament. 5 May 2015
Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says government needs to change its budget strategy to strengthen the public health system if the country, along with other African states, are to take the continent forward. The Minister said the strategy would also include prioritising the prevention of disease and promoting health to ensure that people get good quality health care.
The Minister said this when tabling his department’s Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday.
He said the need for stronger public health systems was crucial as it would enhance the ability for the health sector to prevent and manage disease outbreaks like Ebola, Meningitis, Tuberculosis, HIV and Aids and Polio, for example.
It was for this reason that at a recent World Health Organisation conference in Benin, Ministers of health took a decision that instead of having vertical programmes – separate budgets to fight Malaria, Polio, HIV Aids, TB, among others – governments should invest in strengthening public health systems.
“We believe that what will help Africa are strong health systems which in turn will withstand whichever outbreak emerges because … we actually do not know what will follow next.
“Yesterday it was HIV and Aids, today it is Ebola and TB and tomorrow is what?
“We do not know but we believe that some other outbreak is unfortunately in the pipeline …”
He said the outbreak of diseases that he referred to could be caused by climate change, an increasing encroachment of humankind in the habitat of other species in search of food, water and shelter, as well as the ever increasing emergence of the post antibiotic era.
The Minister said during the 2014/15 financial year, his department has been busy putting up plans to strengthen the public health system.
“This will include preventing disease, promoting health and making sure that our people get good quality health care.
“This is our mandate and this we shall pursue with vigour.
“This does not mean vertical programmes are to be abandoned.
“It simple means that strengthening health care systems will be our flagship while vertical programmes will be supportive,” he said.
Prevention is better than cure
Minister Motsoaledi said curing diseases is usually regarded as a scientific achievement, while prevention is not given the same stature.
He said this was the reason why in the public health sector, any negative event that happened was immediately regarded as a collapse of the health system.
“No matter what detractors will say, we shall not abandon or weaken the preventative aspect of the health system, on the contrary it is going to be the foundation of our programme of health system strengthening,” he said.
To pursue the goal of prevention, the department of health introduced new vaccines in 2009 in its routine immunisation programme, including the Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and the rotavirus vaccine.
Pneumococcal diseases like meningitis and severe pneumonia are regarded as very dangerous and that in South Africa and around the world, and is the number two killer after HIV and Aids to children under the age of five.
The Minister said prevention vaccines have led to the department decreasing these diseases by 70%.
“Sadly in today’s public narrative, it may count for nothing. What would have counted is if I were to announce that we allowed children to have pneumonia and meningitis and successfully treated all of them.
“That type of announcement would have found resonance with major sections of the media and some politicians.
“That I am announcing today that we actually prevented 70% of children from ever catching the deadly pneumococcal disease may mean nothing to people with this perverse narrative of ‘cure is better than prevention’ rather than the age old adage of ‘prevention is better than cure’,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

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Motsoaledi looks to vaccines to strengthen public health system

Written by SA Government News.

Cape Town Parliament. 5 May 2015
Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says government needs to change its budget strategy to strengthen the public health system if the country, along with other African states, are to take the continent forward. The Minister said the strategy would also include prioritising the prevention of disease and promoting health to ensure that people get good quality health care.
The Minister said this when tabling his department’s Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday.
He said the need for stronger public health systems was crucial as it would enhance the ability for the health sector to prevent and manage disease outbreaks like Ebola, Meningitis, Tuberculosis, HIV and Aids and Polio, for example.
It was for this reason that at a recent World Health Organisation conference in Benin, Ministers of health took a decision that instead of having vertical programmes – separate budgets to fight Malaria, Polio, HIV Aids, TB, among others – governments should invest in strengthening public health systems.
“We believe that what will help Africa are strong health systems which in turn will withstand whichever outbreak emerges because … we actually do not know what will follow next.
“Yesterday it was HIV and Aids, today it is Ebola and TB and tomorrow is what?
“We do not know but we believe that some other outbreak is unfortunately in the pipeline …”
He said the outbreak of diseases that he referred to could be caused by climate change, an increasing encroachment of humankind in the habitat of other species in search of food, water and shelter, as well as the ever increasing emergence of the post antibiotic era.
The Minister said during the 2014/15 financial year, his department has been busy putting up plans to strengthen the public health system.
“This will include preventing disease, promoting health and making sure that our people get good quality health care.
“This is our mandate and this we shall pursue with vigour.
“This does not mean vertical programmes are to be abandoned.
“It simple means that strengthening health care systems will be our flagship while vertical programmes will be supportive,” he said.
Prevention is better than cure
Minister Motsoaledi said curing diseases is usually regarded as a scientific achievement, while prevention is not given the same stature.
He said this was the reason why in the public health sector, any negative event that happened was immediately regarded as a collapse of the health system.
“No matter what detractors will say, we shall not abandon or weaken the preventative aspect of the health system, on the contrary it is going to be the foundation of our programme of health system strengthening,” he said.
To pursue the goal of prevention, the department of health introduced new vaccines in 2009 in its routine immunisation programme, including the Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and the rotavirus vaccine.
Pneumococcal diseases like meningitis and severe pneumonia are regarded as very dangerous and that in South Africa and around the world, and is the number two killer after HIV and Aids to children under the age of five.
The Minister said prevention vaccines have led to the department decreasing these diseases by 70%.
“Sadly in today’s public narrative, it may count for nothing. What would have counted is if I were to announce that we allowed children to have pneumonia and meningitis and successfully treated all of them.
“That type of announcement would have found resonance with major sections of the media and some politicians.
“That I am announcing today that we actually prevented 70% of children from ever catching the deadly pneumococcal disease may mean nothing to people with this perverse narrative of ‘cure is better than prevention’ rather than the age old adage of ‘prevention is better than cure’,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

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Shoshanguve Clinic 2 clinic needs more staff to stop delays

Written by SA Government News.

Pretoria - 8 May 2015

Residents of Soshanguve Block G in Pretoria have requested for more nurses to be employed at Clinic 2 to relieve one dedicated nurse who attends to patients living with HIV/AIDS at the clinic.

The residents told Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu on Thursday that the nurse who checks and prescribes medication for them seldom go for tea breaks and lunch because she attends to more than 90 patients per day. MEC Mahlangu’s visit to the clinic formed part of the Social Cluster community visits and Imbizo which aims to focus on community concerns to improve service delivery in the province.

One of the female patients said she was sitting in a long queue in the corridors of Clinic 2 just before 8am and was only attended to before 2pm. She said the clinic needed a bigger waiting area -- to avoid sitting in the corridors -- and more nurses needed to be employed since the demand was high.

“We sit in this small corridor all day. It is not nice because there is a lot of us and we have different illnesses, it is not healthy at all.”

Long queues

Another patient told the MEC that she would always report for work late on the days that she comes to the clinic for treatment because the queues are always long. Sometimes she would not make it to work and would have to explain to her boss the next day.

MEC Mahlangu asked the management of the hospital to employ at least two more nurses to assist the one who attends to patients living with HIV and Aids, and consider working on weekends to make things easy for patients who work during the week.

About 8000 patients visit the clinic on a monthly basis, and most of them come from about six sections of Soshanguve, including Blocks F, G, H, H extension, AA, and CC.

MEC Mahlangu said about 2 800 patients get their Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) treatment from the clinic every month.

“We have expanded the HIV treatment to patients with CD4 count of 500 and below, and that is very commendable. It is important that people stay on treatment so that they can live longer,” she said.

The MEC said she found similar challenges in various clinics that she had visited and most of the challenges were basic and management related.

Health education

MEC Mahlangu said there was a need for public members to be taught about healthy living.

“People must eat healthy. We need to teach people about the impact that the food they are eating has on their bodies,” she said.

She was also concerned about teenage pregnancy. “We need to do more work in educating young people that they have got to stay longer in schools, they have got to abstain and really look after themselves until they at least finish high school,” she said.

She said it was more of a community responsibility to address issues of teenage pregnancy and not only government.

The clinic makes maternity referrals to Clinic 3 at Bock BB and also maternity and general referrals to George Mokhari Hospital. It offers comprehensive healthcare services, including family planning, dental services, mental treatment, and ARV and TB treatment, among other services.

Improving infrastructure, services

Although there are about four neighbouring clinics in the area, the community needs more health care facilities.

The structure of Clinic 2, which was built before 1994, is dated. MEC Mahlangu said the clinic needs to be revamped to accommodate the community.

She said more consulting rooms need to be built, modern equipment was needed as well as increasing staff complement.

“We are going to look at expanding infrastructure but also make sure that people are educated about lifestyle,” said MEC Mahlangu.

She said most clinics were built to render health care services to a smaller population about 30 years ago.

She said the overcrowding that is experienced in recent years at health care facilities is a result of an increased number of patients with lifestyle diseases like hypertension, HIV and Aids, heart related diseases and others.

“The pressure that the clinics are facing is as a result of diseases that are increasing, and most of them are preventable,” she said.

MEC Mahlangu chairs the Social Cluster that comprises Education, Arts and Culture, Human Settlements, Sports and Recreation and Social Development.

She also visited a number of service delivery points such as a police station, an early childhood development centre and a housing project in the area.

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Shoshanguve Clinic 2 clinic needs more staff to stop delays

Written by SA Government News.

Pretoria - 8 May 2015

Residents of Soshanguve Block G in Pretoria have requested for more nurses to be employed at Clinic 2 to relieve one dedicated nurse who attends to patients living with HIV/AIDS at the clinic.

The residents told Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu on Thursday that the nurse who checks and prescribes medication for them seldom go for tea breaks and lunch because she attends to more than 90 patients per day. MEC Mahlangu’s visit to the clinic formed part of the Social Cluster community visits and Imbizo which aims to focus on community concerns to improve service delivery in the province.

One of the female patients said she was sitting in a long queue in the corridors of Clinic 2 just before 8am and was only attended to before 2pm. She said the clinic needed a bigger waiting area -- to avoid sitting in the corridors -- and more nurses needed to be employed since the demand was high.

“We sit in this small corridor all day. It is not nice because there is a lot of us and we have different illnesses, it is not healthy at all.”

Long queues

Another patient told the MEC that she would always report for work late on the days that she comes to the clinic for treatment because the queues are always long. Sometimes she would not make it to work and would have to explain to her boss the next day.

MEC Mahlangu asked the management of the hospital to employ at least two more nurses to assist the one who attends to patients living with HIV and Aids, and consider working on weekends to make things easy for patients who work during the week.

About 8000 patients visit the clinic on a monthly basis, and most of them come from about six sections of Soshanguve, including Blocks F, G, H, H extension, AA, and CC.

MEC Mahlangu said about 2 800 patients get their Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) treatment from the clinic every month.

“We have expanded the HIV treatment to patients with CD4 count of 500 and below, and that is very commendable. It is important that people stay on treatment so that they can live longer,” she said.

The MEC said she found similar challenges in various clinics that she had visited and most of the challenges were basic and management related.

Health education

MEC Mahlangu said there was a need for public members to be taught about healthy living.

“People must eat healthy. We need to teach people about the impact that the food they are eating has on their bodies,” she said.

She was also concerned about teenage pregnancy. “We need to do more work in educating young people that they have got to stay longer in schools, they have got to abstain and really look after themselves until they at least finish high school,” she said.

She said it was more of a community responsibility to address issues of teenage pregnancy and not only government.

The clinic makes maternity referrals to Clinic 3 at Bock BB and also maternity and general referrals to George Mokhari Hospital. It offers comprehensive healthcare services, including family planning, dental services, mental treatment, and ARV and TB treatment, among other services.

Improving infrastructure, services

Although there are about four neighbouring clinics in the area, the community needs more health care facilities.

The structure of Clinic 2, which was built before 1994, is dated. MEC Mahlangu said the clinic needs to be revamped to accommodate the community.

She said more consulting rooms need to be built, modern equipment was needed as well as increasing staff complement.

“We are going to look at expanding infrastructure but also make sure that people are educated about lifestyle,” said MEC Mahlangu.

She said most clinics were built to render health care services to a smaller population about 30 years ago.

She said the overcrowding that is experienced in recent years at health care facilities is a result of an increased number of patients with lifestyle diseases like hypertension, HIV and Aids, heart related diseases and others.

“The pressure that the clinics are facing is as a result of diseases that are increasing, and most of them are preventable,” she said.

MEC Mahlangu chairs the Social Cluster that comprises Education, Arts and Culture, Human Settlements, Sports and Recreation and Social Development.

She also visited a number of service delivery points such as a police station, an early childhood development centre and a housing project in the area.

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NPOs recommend taking over delivery of social welfare services

Written by SA Government News.

Representatives of non-profit organisations (NPOs) have recommended to the Department of Social Development that they should take over the responsibility of delivering social welfare services to South Africans.

On Tuesday, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini called a meeting to engage with the NPO sector to strengthen partnerships between the department and the organisations.

According to the department, the call by NPOs to relieve government of the delivery of social services was based on the view that this would free up government to focus entirely on policy work and creating a conducive environment for the delivery of services.

NPOs believe they operate under the same conditions as small enterprises which, according to research, take about three years to stabilise after being established.

The NPO sector suggested that funding from government must follow this trend and be institutionalised over a minimum of three years in order to give the organisations a fair chance to survive and deliver the much needed services in a sustainable manner, said the department.

NPOs are recognised as critical partners to the department in delivering social services to communities.

In the last financial year, the social development sector spent approximately six and a half billion rand towards funding of NPOs.

During the dialogue, NPOs and the department also discussed funding and resource mobilisation, the role of NPOs towards addressing unemployment and poverty, the role of NPOs towards promoting social cohesion, as well as mainstreaming gender and disability in the NPO sector to promote sustainable development.

The role of NPOs in improving accessibility of social welfare service including HIV and Aids, child and youth services, as well as substance and alcohol abuse, was also discussed.

Tabling the Department’s Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday, Minister Dlamini commended the “selfless and dedicated contribution” of NPOs in building a better society.

“NPOs continue through their efforts to extend our footprint. Through the National Development Agency, we have capacitated more than 6 500 NPOs on institutional strengthening, so that they are able to conduct their work efficiently and effectively,” said Minister Dlamini.

The NPOs will today have an opportunity to make presentations to the Minister on the issues raised. – SAnews.gov.za

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NGOs complete online NCDs national survey today

Written by Vicki.

NGOs complete online NCDs national survey today

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Competition Commission’s Market inquiry into private health care.

Written by David.

At a press conference today 5th February the competition commission laid out there initial report after the close of submissions from stakeholders. The stakeholders submitted their reports and findings on the 17th of November 2014.

 

I total 68 submissions which amounted to 15000 pages. The sheer volume of the detailed reports and their analysis was the reason given by the head of the board for the delay in the release. Only 13 were accepted confidential under law. The submissions will be made public on the commission’s website.

The private healthcare industry gave certain reasons for the pricing.

  • - Pricing is related to inflation and markets.
  • - Concentration of patients in relation to hospitals.
  • - 3rd party payers (medical aids)
  • - Specialist costs
  • - Aging medical aid patients
  • - Cost of medications and equipment
  • - Hiring constraints in law
  • - Changing burden or disease
  • - Medical commission boards

The panel will now enter into arranging meetings and hearings with the stakeholders over the next month. Then said meetings and hearings will take place and conclude on the 30th March 2015.

The next phase will be public and in camera hearings over the month of April 2015. This is for further engagement from the public on current findings and the submissions made. After this the panel will release its draft report to the public for further input from the public and government.

The deadline for the fine report is 15th November 2015.

 

 

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Department of Health Strategic Plan to 2019 NCDs

Written by Vicki Pinkney-Atkinson.

A quick review of where issues related to NCDs may be found in the National Department of Health’s (NDoH’s) strategic plan 2014/15- 2018/19.
Download the strategic plan: SA DoH Strategic Plan 2014 to 2019

What is missing?

We might have been too quick and missed the National Health Commission. Can you find it? Please let us know if you do.

What is in it?

Page 13: NCDs burden of disease

Page 14: NDoH goal to prevent disease and reduce its burden, & promote health. Relate to National Development Plan goal 2030 ↓ prevalence of NCDs.

Page 19: Programme 2: NHI, planning & enablement

Develop and implement integrated monitoring & evaluation plan.

Sector-wide procurement very important for essential medicine and equipment access. EDL are revised on a 3 year cycle and available via book, web and cell phone application format available. The material is also peer reviewed. Medicines availability; a central chronic medicines dispensing and distribution network availability in order to improve access.

Page 24: Programme 3: HIV/AIDS, TB, Maternal & Child Health (includes child, youth and school Health sub-programme)

 

  • Strategic objective indicator cervical cancer screening 2013/14 baseline 55% coverage 2018/19 >70% coverage target.
  • HPV target by 2018/19 = >70% coverage.

 

Page 27: Primary health care (PHC) services (also includes district health services and communicable diseases.)

Health promotion subprogramme focus on implementing a mass mobilization strategy on healthy options. NCDs subprogramme includes mental health focus points:

  • ↓ NCDs risk factors
  • ↑ health systems and services for the detection and control of NCDs
  • ↑ service delivery platform for PHC focused eye care, oral health, care of elderly, rehabilitation, disability and mental health
  • Mental health ↑ awareness of- & ↓ stigmatization by sectoral collaboration
  • ↑ services to prevent disability by co-ordinated interdisciplinary services↑ decentralised integrated PHC services at clinic, community and district hospital level.

Page 29 & 30: Indicators and targets (2018/19)

  • NCDs % ↓ of obesity. Target: ↓ by 10% men to 21% and women to 55%
  • No. people counselled & screened & for high blood pressure & raised blood glucose with 5 million people target. Baseline not available.
  • No. people screened & treated for mental disorders. Target: 35%  prevalent population
  • No. districts implementing the framework and model for rehabilitation services. Target: 52 districts implementing (draft framework and model available 2013/14)
  • Cataract surgery rate. Target: 1700 cataract surgeries per million uninsured population (increase from 1000 2013/14)

Page 30: Resource considerations. The “spending focus (for this period)... will be on health promotion and the prevention of NCDs such as diabetes and hypertension.”

Page 31: Risk management Risk: under-resourced District Health System with mitigation strategy to ring fence the funding for district management and service provision.


 

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The Council for Medical Schemes legal assistance

Written by David Pinkney-Atkinson.

 

  • The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) in collaboration with ProBono.org will offer free legal assistance to those that need it the most. This legal assistance will provide legal relief for those that have a case before the CMS appeals board or committee cannot afford the legal costs.
  • Some of South Africa’s top legal firms have recognised the growing need for the services that Pro Bono offer and have shown an interest getting involved with a worthy cause. The legal assistance provided comes from private attorneys offering their time and expertise to give back to the greater community.
  • The legal services offered will not be available to everyone that applies for them. An expert team from the CMS and Probono.org will decided each case separately. The factors influencing whether a person receives the legal aid would be hardships faced, monetary costs, and condition of the person.
  • This means that those appearing before the committee will have the right to fair and equal representation even if they cannot afford to finance a case. A right everyone deserves but unfortunately available to so few.

 

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Breast cancer - check your medical scheme benefits

Written by Vicki Pinkney-Atkinson.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in rich and poor countries. In 2012, breast cancer was present in 6.3 million women worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death among women with over 522 000 deaths recorded in 2012. According to the National Cancer Registry, 1 in 27 South African women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

Men can get breast cancer but it is rarely diagnosed.

Conditions related to breast cancer are prescribed minimum benefit (PMB) conditions.

To read more, please click here.

In memory of Yvonne October 2014

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Latest Articles

Cape Town Parliament. 5 May 2015Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says government needs to change its budget strategy to strengthen the ...
Cape Town Parliament. 5 May 2015Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says government needs to change its budget strategy to strengthen the ...
Pretoria - 8 May 2015 Residents of Soshanguve Block G in Pretoria have requested for more nurses to be employed at Clinic 2 to relieve one ...
Pretoria - 8 May 2015 Residents of Soshanguve Block G in Pretoria have requested for more nurses to be employed at Clinic 2 to relieve one ...
Representatives of non-profit organisations (NPOs) have recommended to the Department of Social Development that they should take over the r...