The Minister of Health presented his budget vote speech to Parliament on 24 April 2012. The Minister outlined a number of the achievements in the last budget period and priorities for the coming years.
SELECTED ACHIEVEMENTS AND PRIORITIES:
In the fight against HIV and AIDS and TB, through collective efforts, a campaign to test and counsel 15 million people was launched. Today, more than 20 million people have been tested and 1,6 million people are on ARVs and receive counselling. The number of nurses certified to initiate ARV treatment has increased from 250 in Feb 2010 to 10 000 in April 2012. 320,000 male circumcisions have been conducted. Mother-to-child transmission has been reduced from 8% in 2008 to 3,5% in 2011 – a reduction which has resulted in saving the lives of 30,000 babies. A new NSP has been unveiled which outlines a two-year country plan of action.
In the fight against South Africa’s high maternal and child mortality rates, South Africa has joined the African Unions Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), which was launched on 4 May 2012. This campaign will include various interventions to reduce mortality, including the Essential Steps in Managing Obstetric Emergencies and the Emergency Obstetric Simulation Training.
The fight against Non-Communicable diseases associated with lifestyle choices will be tackled through stronger regulation of risky behaviour such as alcohol use.
Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the health-care system is marked by extraordinary challenges which have been tackled through 5 programmes – (1) infrastructure improvement, (2) improved Human Resources for Health, (3) the quality of care in health institutions, (4) re-engineering the primary health care system and (5) the cost of healthcare in our country. Progress to date includes an audit of health facilities in relation to infrastructure, human resources, cleanliness, staff attitudes, safety, infection control, drug stock outs and long queues. Four health facility improvement teams have been set up to work with provincial managements to correct identified problems. The draft legislation setting up the monitoring Office of Health Standard Compliance is currently with the Portfolio Committee. Ten pilot NHI districts have been announced and R1 billion has been allocated over the MTEF to support the pilots.
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