MEC of Health in the Western Cape Theuns Botha. Picture Cindy Waxa
MEC of Health in the Western Cape Theuns Botha. Picture Cindy Waxa

Free health services at stores

By Health Writer Time of article published Nov 22, 2012

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Cape Town - State patients can now access family planning and baby inoculation services free, at certain times, at private pharmacies.

This comes after an agreement was signed between the provincial health department and pharmaceutical giant Clicks.

Health MEC Theuns Botha said the agreement, which will see state patients getting contraceptives and vaccines at all Clicks in-house clinics, would not only make these services more accessible, but would significantly “shorten queues at primary health care facilities”.

Botha said shorter queues at public clinics would enable overburdened health workers to attend to other health needs.

The agreement was part of the provincial government’s Healthcare 2020 strategy - aimed at improving “patient experience” in the public sector.

“With the objective to make vaccines and contraceptives more accessible to more public health care patients, we signed an agreement which entails that patients can make an appointment with the nurse at a Clicks clinic for vaccines or contraceptives. The stock will be provided by the government,” he said.

While at certain times patients would be expected to pay a fee to the maximum of R75 a patient for baby vaccines and R50 a patient for family planning consultations, “patients will at all times have the option of receiving the service free of charge during designated times”, Botha said.

The agreement is the forerunner to a project that would enable other pharmacy groups to provide similar services throughout the province. Botha said this was a “part of strengthening strategic partnerships”.

Currently, health district management teams were preparing for the annual call on non-profit organisations for proposals for the reprovisioning of family planning and vaccines in co-operation with the private sector. Tenders for this service close on January 15 and the new service is expected to start in July.

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Cape Argus

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