Tembisa Hospital. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - The government will accelerate its effort to address the country's health challenges by attending to the capacity of health facilities in the next five years, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in Parliament on Thursday.

“In the next five years, we will accelerate the provision of well-located housing and land to poor South Africans. To improve the quality of life of South Africans, to reduce poverty in all its dimensions and to strengthen our economy, we will attend to the health of our people. We must attend to the capacity of our hospitals and clinics,” said Ramaphosa as he tabled his State of the Nation Address on Thursday evening in Cape Town.

He told Parliament about an 80-year-old grandmother and said they could spend an entire day in a queue waiting for medication.

“An ill patient cannot be turned away because there is a shortage of doctors and nurses. A woman in labour cannot have her unborn child’s life put in danger because the ambulance has taken too long to come,” said Ramaphosa.

As part of the work, the government must urgently improve the quality of the health system, he said. 

“We are finalising the Presidential Health Summit Compact, which draws on the insights and will mobilise the capabilities of all key stakeholders to address the crisis in our clinics and hospitals.”

He said that government was revising the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill's detailed plan of implementation, which included accelerating quality of care initiatives in public facilities, building human resources capacity, the establishment of the NHI fund structure, and costing the administration of the NHI fund.

African News Agency