News

South Africa Launching Initiative To Improve Healthcare Delivery

South Africa President Jacob Zuma (File Photo)
South Africa President Jacob Zuma (File Photo)
Peter Clottey

South Africa’s deputy health minister says the government Friday will launch an initiative aimed at improving the health conditions of children and pregnant mothers.

Doctor Gwen Malegwale Ramokgopa said the administration is also working closely with other African countries to prioritize quality healthcare delivery to their citizens.

She said the government continues to demonstrate the political will towards improving the health conditions of all South Africans.

“We are sparing no effort to ensure that the well-being of South Africans indeed improves significantly. We are building on the achievements of the past years and we have prioritized four areas [and] the improvement of the health system effectiveness,” said Ramokgopa.

“The reduction of maternal and child mortality and morbidity as well as the reduction of HIV/AIDS and TB epidemics…we are doing these to improve the live expectancies of South Africans so that all have a long and healthy life.”

Ramokgopa said there has been a sharp increase in quality healthcare since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

Since the advent of democracy 19 years ago, she said, the country has increased the number of clinics by 40 percent. “We have empirical evidence that indeed the efforts that we have made have yielded results,” said Ramokgopa.

“The issue of malaria elimination, the issues of great reduction in terms of severe malnutrition for children who used to be dying of Kwashiorkor and Marasmus, we don’t see those types of illnesses anymore, amongst children.”

Ramokgopa, however acknowledged that South Africa faces the challenge of HIV and TB, which she said negatively impacts maternal and child health. She said the ministry of health makes concerted efforts to combat those diseases.

“We have put in policies, we have put in regulations and we continue to work with researchers as well as looking at technology to fast-track our gains,” Ramokgopa said.

“Over the past 18 months, we have been able to reduce the transmission of mother to child of HIV by 50 percent. We have also been able to increase the number of those that are on the anti-retrovirals quite significantly, more than double the numbers.”

According to South African officials, a majority of healthcare professionals, especially doctors, work in the private sector. This, they said, means quality healthcare can be out of the reach of the poor.

Deputy health minister Ramokgopa said the government is working to ensure equitable access to good healthcare.

“[An] official discussion paper, the green paper, [which] has already been publicized, has committed itself to ensure that we have a single integrated system. Meaning that the health workers of the country will serve the population, regardless of whether they can afford or not afford [it].”

She said the government’s policies are having a positive impact on the health status of South Africans.

“The death rates are coming down after they have stubbornly increased over the past few years, they have started to plummet,” said Ramokgopa.

“People are getting healthier and the economy is getting more productive as people get less sick and indeed the lives of South Africans [are] getting better.”

Ramokgopa was the keynote speaker at the just-ended Council on Health Research and Development Group (COHRED) 2012 forum in Cape Town. The conference, among other topics, focused on research and innovation as key drivers of health, equity and development.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs