Executive mayor of Tshwane Solly Msimanga. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
MANY Tshwane residents were still struggling to access basic primary healthcare owing to a lack of clinics in their areas.

The affordability of health services was also at the heart of the challenges faced by residents, who could not access healthcare, mayor Solly Msimanga said during the State of the Capital Address at Tshwane House on Thursday.

He said the DA-led administration was aware of these problems and was on course to tackle them head-on.

Shortages of staff in the public healthcare clinics was one of the critical problems, and to deal with this, the City had appointed 34 retired nurses on contract to alleviate critical staff shortages, Msimanga said.

“Promoting the health and wellness of residents is a central priority of this responsive DA-led government, and we recognise the challenges faced by many residents in accessing basic primary healthcare.

“Appreciating the geographical layout of Tshwane, among other factors, we know that access to healthcare facilities is a challenge which we are committed to addressing,” he said.

Access to healthcare was not only determined by “the physical location of healthcare facilities but also by affordability of health services”.

“Low levels of access to decent healthcare lead to lower quality of life and have many knock-on effects on the productivity of the economy,” he said.

The City was committed to improving access to public healthcare "by developing healthcare capacity based on the services that are rendered by the City, integrating the public and private healthcare systems better, and allocating adequate resources to deal with communicable and non-communicable diseases”.

The City wanted to partner with communities to develop community-based healthcare services.

Msimanga said the partnership would allow for flexible delivery of healthcare services while improving the distribution of health information.

He said the City would create strategic partnerships with knowledge and innovation institutions, towards developing efficient and effective health solutions.

“We have increased access to health services, where services are available from Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 4pm and extended from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays at 14 of our 24 facilities.”

He said the City had handed over the Block JJ Clinic in Soshanguve to the MEC for health in August to work with the City in providing quality healthcare services.

“It was clear that the community were in desperate need of a proper healthcare facility that would cater for all their health needs. The City, as a caring government, acceded to their call for a proper, dignified healthcare facility,” Msimanga said.

The pharmaceutical section had continuously managed to ensure that more than 90% of essential medicines were available at City facilities at all times.

“I announce today that the City of Tshwane partnering with local pharmacies for the dispensing of this medication to our residents. This will alleviate the burden on our clinics.

“It will also make it easier for us to bring primary healthcare and medication closer to the people who need it most, and avert some of the protracted waiting in queues often suffered by old, frail residents looking to get much-needed medication,” he said.