Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo in Paarl Hospital during the Cape Winelands for Rural Districts Vaccination Drive. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo in Paarl Hospital during the Cape Winelands for Rural Districts Vaccination Drive. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Western Cape Health Department has spent over R125m on reducing impact of third wave

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Aug 4, 2021

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Cape Town - The provincial Health Department has so far spent over R125 million to lessen the impact of the third wave of Covid-19 infections, according to Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo.

In a written response to a question from ANC provincial Health spokesperson Rachel Windvogel, Mbombo said the most money spent was R66 million which was spent on medical supplies and the least amount was R838, which was spent on catering for departmental activities.

Windvogel had asked about the department’s total budget to lessen the impact of the third wave of the pandemic and wanted a breakdown of the department’s expenditure to date.

Among the other big ticket items on the list, Mbombo provided in response to the query were laboratory services which come to R39.2 million and travel and subsistence allowances that have come to R5.8 million.

Transportation provided by the department has so far cost R968 137, while agency and support outsourced services have cost R3.7 million.

Commenting on the response, Windvogel said the department appeared to be preoccupied with quick fixes.

“As the ANC we are concerned that billions are being spent on quick fixes instead of addressing the persistent challenges and addressing the rampant inequalities in health.

“The reply by the MEC proves exactly that, with over R3 billion spent on agency personnel who are costly and not offering sustainable and long-term solutions.

“We know that the provincial government reserved billions of rand to respond to the Covid-19 third wave. As the numbers continue to rise we wait to see how much is spent to improve our bed capacity in provincial hospitals, as a number of hospitals are starting to get overwhelmed.”

Meanwhile, the department said that its staffing capacity will ebb and flow with the wave progression but that continuous recruitment is under way where possible, depending on the budget.

The department’s people management section is monitoring the staff capacity impact weekly in line with the service platform’s demand.

At the same time, the provincial treasury’s latest procurement disclosure report for June put’s the province’s Covid-19 procurement expenditure at R22 635 000 of which R22 614 000 was spent by provincial departments and R20, 866 by public entities.

The report said: “The departments of Health; Transport and Public Works and Premier undertook the bulk of this expenditure for June 2021.

“The departments of Health and Transport and Public Works focused on non-PPE expenditure such as infrastructure, human resource services, accommodation and meals; and the department of the Premier on Covid-19 related communication and advertising in respect of prevention awareness and behaviour change.”

Meanwhile, the legislature's health standing committee chairperson Wendy Philander (DA) said the committee would be putting questions to the Health MEC in its efforts to monitor ongoing Covid-19 care, especially in terms of bed capacity in the system.

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Cape Argus

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