Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Photo: Cindy Waxa
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Photo: Cindy Waxa

Tshwane’s poor areas to get NHI first

By Mogomotsi Magome Time of article published Apr 23, 2012

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Some of Tshwane’s poorest residents stand to be the first beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance (NHI) as the provincial health department prepares to start implementing the scheme in Tshwane.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced recently that the Tshwane health district would be one of the 11 pilot sites for the implementation of the NHI.

The implementation would include improvement of health facilities and provision of scarce resources and expertise at these facilities.

Gauteng Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe announced yesterday that her department had been allocated a grant of R31.5 million for the roll-out of NHI in Tshwane.

The money is expected to improve health care at some of the most under-resourced health facilities in Tshwane, particularly in the former Kungwini and Metsweding areas, and other areas in the north-eastern parts of the city.

The first phase of the implementation will be in areas including Kekana Gardens, Themba and Hammanskraal in the north and others in the central west district including clinics in the city centre, Atteridgeville, Laudium and other area west of the city.

According to Mekgwe, these areas have a combined population of 848 199, which is 31 percent of the population of the Tshwane district.

She said a crucial part of the roll-out was the formation of seven primary health care teams that would service Olievenhoutbosch, Atteridgeville, Mamelodi, Refilwe and Kekana Gardens.

“These teams will consist of community health workers who will provide outreach services into the communities, visiting homes, identifying needs and making interventions which includes referring those who are sick to the clinic or hospital. Twenty of these teams will be established in the province this year.

“They will literally be knocking on people’s doors because you find that people cannot go to health facilities to get checked. We will be taking health care to them instead,” said Mekgwe.

The department had also established 22 school-based primary health care teams to service 521 schools across the province, she said.

“They will assist in screening learners and assessing barriers to learning including sight, hearing and oral hygiene.

“They are composed of a professional nurse, auxiliary nurse, health promoter, oral hygienist and optometrist,” Mekgwe said.

The department has also set up a Quality Assurance Unit and a provincial Office of Standard Compliance, which is tasked with monitoring infection controls, cleanliness, staff attitudes, patient safety and waiting time in line with the national health department’s NHI norms and standards.

“As a province we have decided on a phased approach to implementing the pilot project, targeting as large a population as possible within the district.

“In this regard coverage will focus on both the urban and rural mix, especially the most vulnerable.

“This should ensure improvement in both the access to and quality of the health services in these areas,” said Mekgwe.

Meanwhile, a total of 2 604 suppliers and NGOs that were owed less than R1m by the provincial health department would be paid this week, Mekgwe said.

She said an instruction to release R259m to all these suppliers was issued on Friday and the money should be in their bank accounts this week. These would include NGOs whose grants were outstanding from the department, but she denied any knowledge of NGOs having to shut down because of the lack of payment.

However, the Pretoria News reported two weeks ago that three special care centres in Mamelodi, Soshanguve and Atteridgeville were facing closure as funding from the department had not been paid in the past few months.

But health spokesman Simon Zwane said though he was not familiar with specific details, they would be paid this week if there was any outstanding money due to them.

Clinics chosen for NHI pilot phase (north-east district):

Tambo, Mandisa Shiceka, Kekanastadt, Suurman, Dilopye, New Eersterus, Kekana Gardens, Ramotse, Jubilee Gateway. Themba CHC and Refentse MOU

Clinics chosen for NHI pilot phase (central-west):

Skinner Street, Bophelong, Folang, Hercules, Laudium, Danville, Atteridgeville, Gazankulu, Lotus Gardens, Phomolong and Saulsville. In addition, upgrades will also be done at Laudium Community Health Centre.

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