You are on page 1of 3

Debate on Vote 4- June 8 2007

By: Member M Bopape Honourable Deputy Speaker, Honourable Members, today we are reminded of the important responsibility we bear as public representatives to the 2007/08 Health Budget debate, the responsibility of taking forward the task of ensuring a healthy community of the Gauteng Province. In doing this, we have to take cognizance of our responsibility to the African National Congress, the democratic movement and the country as a whole. We, as elected members of the African National Congress, are therefore confident that the programme that seeks to achieve Quality of Life will deepen and accelerate this process of a better life for all and that the portfolio committee for Health fully endorses it, bearing in mind that the people of South Africa have sent a clear and unequivocal message that they are prepared to work together with the African National Congress to build a peoples contract for a better life for all. Honourable Deputy Speaker, I wish forthwith to state without any reservations that the Gauteng Department of Health under the leadership of the Honourable MEC Brian Hlongwa is doing its utmost best to bring health to its people, and in spite of the budgetary constraints, it is doing fairly well - a fact that has even been conceded by the Honourable Jack Bloom. All of sudden, today he is saying something else. During the NCOP week, the permanent delegates from the Gauteng Legislature who included the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Liaison and the Portfolio Committee for Health, were privileged to have a comprehensive presentation of the programme on Quality of Life Campaign. I as community health nurse was very impressed with the programme. I went on to say to the MEC that if this programme could be well managed and implemented effectively, there would be no need for it to be discontinued. It represents all what primary health-care and preventive medicine is about, and precisely what our province needs. However there are areas which need more focus and emphasis so that the programme can become fully beneficial to all, namely: Stress management in schools, particularly high schools Establishment of satellite clinics so as to reach remote areas Focus on life styles particularly in young adults Obesity as a precipitant of life-threatening diseases like diabetes and hypertension Honourable Deputy Speaker, there has been a lot of talk about Provincialisation of Primary Health Care (PHC) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS). It is unfortunate that the DA, or rather the Honourable Jack Bloom, have voiced their disapproval and/or concerns about the concept of provincialiasation of PHC and EMS. This incidentally was not done off the calf and of course, there was no need for the Department or the MEC to ask for an opinion from the media. Exhaustive study on the services was undertaken and a number of gaps were identified and found

to be impacting negatively on the health system. Something had to be done; I will mention a few gaps that were identified The cost per uninsured person in Gauteng was found to be much lesser than the ideal Gaps of 1,650 operational staff Staff capacity required at all clinics Immediate CAPEX required for infrastructure eg urgent repairs, faci Systems problems in regard to database

Honourable members, the list is endless, I could go on and on. All these identified gaps have a negative impact quality health care; provicialising primary health is the best solution. The DA knows that Provicialisation is a Legislative imperative, and that the National Health Act has made PHC the responsibility of Provincial Government. Without wasting much of the honourable members time I need to also mention that the same applies to the Emergency Medical Services, there is no doubt in my mind that there will be improvement on response times, vehicle tracking, better information management and monitoring systems. I suggest Honourable Deputy Speaker, that the methodology used by the DA in their research is flawed, that they should improve it so that they should realize the opportunities and benefits that will accrue in provincialising Primary Health Care and Emergency Medical Services. Honourable Deputy Speaker, this argument may perhaps be fruitless, because if Member Bloom and his party is so focused in building and establishing over 50 private hospitals in Gauteng Province, how then can he have an interest in Primary Health Care and prevention of diseases. These private hospitals that he so desperately wants are not necessary and we support the Department in having turned down the 22 applications, in my view, the department were more than generous, you should have approved even much less, Gauteng Province has enough private hospitals, what we need is primary health care centers, and we must see to it that these health care centers are established. Primary health care and prevention of disease should and must remain our priority. On the 15th of May, just three weeks ago, the Gauteng Department of Health HOD, Ms S Ngcobo, was made to answer questions on 702, by Mr. John Robbie, as to why the Department had only approved 28 private hospitals instead of 50. This, of course, came from Mr. Jack of all trades, Honourable Jack Bloom, who had earlier reported to 702 that the MEC for Health together with his department had turned down the 22 applications. I dont know whether it was a coincidence or sequence of events, but it is interesting that Honourable Jack Bloom had just come back from a study tour from the USA, where he made sure that he leaves for the USA much earlier than the rest of committee and even remained behind when the committee departed for home, It is important to mention that we visited almost 90% hospitals that were almost privately operated, everywhere were we went, they knew him, even calling him by his name, Jack, I think Madam Deputy Speaker, Honourable Bloom, used this study tour to achieve his own interest, I dont know if he informed 702 about this, because I think Madam Deputy Speaker it would be most dishonest and in bad

taste if a member of a committee uses a study tour to achieve his own interest. Does he have a personal interest in these applications that have turned down, he must tell us. In conclusion, Honourable Deputy Speaker, I am aware that I have not dealt much on the budget, I have left it to the capable hands of committee members and I am satisfied with the budget , What I wish to say, and boldly so, is that our health system is on track, our HIV/AIDS Programme is on track, a health system that one can be proud once the campaign on Quality of life and the programmes on provincialising our Primary Health Care and Emergency Medical Services are successfully implemented , I am confident this will be, because the department is committed and the MEC For Health is determined, the committee is also determined to exercise their oversight responsibilities. I thank you,