Massive health overhaul for E Cape

20 September 2013

Two hospitals and eight clinics in the OR Tambo district are to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch as part of a massive overhaul of the health care system in the Eastern Cape, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Thursday.

Speaking to journalists in Pretoria, Motsoaledi said that both the Department ofHealth Department and National Treasury were aware of the major health, financial and resources challenges in the Eastern Cape.

This was especially the case in OR Tambo, one of 11 districts selected to pilot South Africa’s National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. Motsoaledi said OR Tambo had been chosen as a pilot district “specifically because we wanted to take that opportunity to fix a multiplicity of problems the district is experiencing”.

The district has 167 clinics, 12 community health centres, 13 district hospitals, two regional hospitals and three specialised hospitals.

Among the eight clinics to be demolished, five of them will be built during this financial year, with contractors due on site by January 2014.

In addition, two nursing colleges, Butterworth Nursing College and Madzine-Ka-Zulu Nursing College, would be fully refurbished, with work starting in October and due for completion by March.

Motsoaledi said the national department was working around the clock with the provincial department of halth to improve infrastructure in the rest of the province.

“We are implementing 287 projects covering new additions, upgrades, renovations and maintenance work in 132 facilities. One hundred and fifty-nine of these projects are at construction phase, while the rest are at developmental phase.”

“A total amount of R1.045-billion has been budgeted for this work up to the end of the financial year.”

Motsoaledi said the rebuilding of the Eastern Cape health department had been going on for some time. In May, he and Deputy Health Minister Gwen Ramokgopa had spent four hours with the executive council in Bisho.

“Two weeks ago, a new HOD was appointed. He was working here at the head office. After a long time of [having an] acting position, the Eastern Cape has got a permanent CFO and a permanent deputy director-general for human resources.

“I have just spoken to the new HOD this week to prioritise appointments in the directorate of pharmaceutical services.”

Motsoaledi added that the adverts for new CEO positions at a number of hospitals, after some delay, would be appearing in the media in the next few days.