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Misinformation, service pressures among 2021 challenges for health care in the Western Cape

Health Department spokesperson, Byron La Hoe said this ranged from challenges over oxygen supply, public misinformation, service pressures, and an increase in mental health cases. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Health Department spokesperson, Byron La Hoe said this ranged from challenges over oxygen supply, public misinformation, service pressures, and an increase in mental health cases. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Dec 31, 2021

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Cape Town - Departments that have driven the Western Cape’s Covid-19 response while ensuring that other health services were still running effectively, have reflected on the year soon to draw to an end.

One of the major reasons the province could be pleased with its efforts, is leading in its vaccination coverage for the total number of individuals vaccinated, at 52.84%, of which, 46.16% are fully vaccinated.

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However, this was not reached without its fair share of challenges.

Health Department spokesperson, Byron La Hoe said this ranged from challenges over oxygen supply, public misinformation, service pressures, and an increase in mental health cases.

Screening and testing for various chronic conditions, and for tuberculosis had declined this year.

“With de-escalation of services, various elective (non-emergency) surgical cases had to be postponed and the inter-wave periods were used to catch up on these. Areas for improvement include the provision of rapid integrated palliative care for patients and their families for those who are eligible for this service,” La Hoe said.

Lessons learnt included “careful and continuous interrogation of data and lived information”, in order to determine next steps to be taken, La Hoe said.

Premier Alan Winde said: “We pride ourselves in being a learning government and we learned from each wave to ensure we remain prepared. For example, during the second wave when our oxygen stock came under immense pressure, we incorporated these lessons to our response to the third wave, which enabled us to have sufficient oxygen throughout a time of great service platform pressures.”

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Vaccine hesitancy was listed as one of the major challenges by Winde, with the need to now find innovative and agile responses to address this.

“Looking forward, we must focus on the next pandemic of poverty and crime which is costing many lives in the Western Cape.

“We must find innovative ways to fight crime and build safer communities together and we must enable job creation through economic growth. A job is the best antidote to poverty and crime,” Winde said.

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