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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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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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NDoH and the WHO need your help to fight Ebola

Written by David.

The National Department of Health (NDoH) in conjunction with the WHO are pleading to local companies to pledge toward the fight against Ebola.

To date in West Africa Ebola has claimed the lives of close to 2,500 people. Sierra Leone is the hardest hit country with infection rates rising faster than any other place. The infection rate has risen 21% in the last month. Of particular concern is rate of infection among healthcare workers is primarily due to a lack of formal training on how to deal with a highly infectious disease like Ebola.

The NDoH is aiming to set up a 40 bed mobile hospital in Sierra Leone with fully trained staff to provide treatment and diagnoses. The NDoH is also be sending healthcare workers into the more remote areas with small scooters and motorbikes. These healthcare workers are to educate and train the people of Sierra Leone while serving as disease tracers to cut the rate of infection. All the healthcare workers sent to Liberia will be volunteers who have had experience in similar conditions.

South Africa will also aid Guinea and Liberia with laboratories, equipment, and consumables. This is the particular plea to South Africa.

Government cannot do this alone and together with WHO are appealing to the South Africans and the private sector for help. This 9 month mission will cost in excess of R120 million.

Donation can be made in any form time, money, services, or equipment.

 

 

 

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New mental health newslettter Mind Matters

Written by Vicki Pinkney-Atkinson.

Congratulations to the SA Federation for Mental Health on the first issue of their newsletter.  It will provide regular updates on all things mental health (nationally and internationally).

  • Interesting developments in the field of Mental Health, such as international studies and research findings
  • Mental Health conditions, campaigns, and reflections on current event
  • South African mental health developments that shape the field

To sign up for this newsletter click here. If you interested in mental health and illness then you should sign up today. There is so much information on this website.

Contents in this first issue are listed below and then there is so much more on the website:

 

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Food labelling regulations: comment by 29 August

Written by Vicki Pinkney-Atkinson, Gabi Steenkamp and Hayley Katz.

Diabetes & allergy issuses need attention

PHANGO is on the case of the draft regulations (see document below) as it is likely that the R4 Close 29 (regulations will replace Regualtion R146 (enforced March 2012).View and Download: Draft Amendment R429 Foodstuffs...

Related Act: Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act (54 /1972) KB

Diabetes

  • No provision for claims that foods are suitable for those with diabetes.  The wording in the draft is such that NO ‘diabetic friendly’ or ‘suitable for those with diabetes’ claims may be made at all. Only claims with the legislated wording contained in the R429 may be stated on food labels. And since there is no mention of diabetes at all in R429, it means that no foods may carry any diabetic claims or wording.
  • The special dispensation granted to Diabetes SA and Glycaemic Index Foundation South Africa for endorsement is only valid until R429 is passed into law, NO diabetes claims or endorsements may be made UNLESS the dispensation is extended.

A joint comment is being prepared by Diabetes SA /GIFSA/. Perhaps there are others who would like to join there comment.

Allergy issues

Food allergies can be life threatenting! So if you have a food allergy you might want to contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Allergy Alive is a non profit organization that deals with the issue of severe and life threatening allergic disease.  Allergy Alive aims to ensure that every person living with severe allergic disease has access to quality comprehensive prevention, protection, and treatment services so as to live a healthy, productive and safe life without limits.

Section 44, 45, 46, 47 of the regulation deals with allergens (substances that cause allergy) (p.37&38) only lists the following allergens: gluten, wheat, cow's milk, goat's milk.

  • Food labeling to disclose food family contamination e.g. Peanuts are a close relation to legumes and lupin ,so people allergic to peanuts may well be allergic to lentils.
  • List as uncommon allergens: Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, sulphites, mustard, celery, lupin and kiwi fruit, sesame seed.
  • Currently those allergic to uncommon allergens in trace amounts cannot safely buy food in South Africa, as there is no labelling guide. Most people cannot afford to import overseas products which means that the daily task of eating is a constant threat.
  • Most food manufactures are not aware that they are obliged to disclose possible contamination factors of uncommon allergens in the production, manufacture and packaging of food items, and we want this to be clearly stipulated.
  • Traceability of products used in the food is essential in terms of contamination. For those dealing with life threatening reactions to trace amounts, this factor is crucial

Additonal allergy resources

Hayley Katz, of Allergy Alive, is the mother of children with these life-threatening allergies. She recommends the following resources:

 

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