Johannesburg MMC for health and social development Mpho Phalatse. PHOTO: Bhekikhaya Mabaso / African News Agency (ANA).

JOHANNESBURG - The City of Joburg on Wednesday announced that it has extended hours of service at four primary health care facilities.

The member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for health and social development, Mpho Phalatse, said residents of Midrand West, Elias Motsoaledi, Windsor and Lenasia Extension 2, will now enjoy extended hours of service at their local clinics.

She said this was part of the city's mission to improve access to primary health care services to the communities.

"The roll-out of this program has given hope to our residents that indeed a day will come when we will throw away the keys to all our clinics.  With the support and dedication of the City’s Health and Social Development team the current administration has managed to extend this generous offering to 26 of our clinics, and the plan is to bring this number to 36 by the end of the 2019/20 financial year," said Phalatse.

"Between November 2016 and May 2019, a total of 1,991,614 patients were seen at the clinics offering extended hours of service. Of these 18.8% (374,835) were seen during the extended hours."

"On average, 201,286 of the patients seen during the extended hours were registered on weekdays and 173,549 on weekends and public holidays."

The MMC said a total of 704 emergencies were seen during the rolled out extended hours, including respiratory distress, pneumonia, asthma, vomiting and dehydration, maternal, PV bleeding, miscarriages, pre-eclampsia, birth before arrival, post-partum hemorrhage; Injuries post motor vehicle accident, assaults, stab wounds, burns, paraffin poisoning/ingestion and dog bites.

She said the city has 79 fixed primary health care clinics that render a comprehensive package of primary health care services to the community, historically over 5 days a week, Monday to Friday. The operating hours varied from clinic to clinic, ranging from 07:30 to 16:00 and 08:00 to 16:30. 

"We are not legislated to offer a 24-hour health care service, but through the steps we are taking, more and more of our clinics will operate until late in the evening and this service will be rolled out as per available budget,"said Phalatse.

"What is also important to note is that since the start of the programme to extend operating hours, the waiting times have been declining, thus improving quality of service to our patients.

"It is such an honour to be part of a team that's revolutionising healthcare in the City of Johannesburg. Hearing testimonies of complications and deaths averted as a direct result of this intervention affirms that this is a move long overdue, and one that the city should continue to invest heavily in," said Phalatse.

She said they will continue to empower the health system to adequately meet the needs of their residents. 

African News Agency (ANA)