Ntombi Mekgwe

Gauteng earmarks R1.4bn for medicine

The Gauteng Health Department has set aside R1.4 billion to ensure a steady supply of medicine, with the bulk of the amount to be allocated to the Medical Supplies Depot.

Presenting the department's R24.5 billion budget for 2012/13 on Friday, Gauteng Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said the department had obtained permission from the national Health Department to procure some drugs from additional suppliers in order to pre-empt and mitigate the shortage of chronic medication.

"The department has reviewed maintenance contracts in order to minimise the breakdown of medical equipment. To this end, we have allocated R427 million to purchase medical equipment for our hospitals.

Tshwane’s poor areas to get NHI first

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.

Premier finds queues at health facilities

LONG queues at Gauteng healthcare facilities were an indication that health services in the province faced huge demand, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said yesterday as she toured health facilities.

Ms Mokonyane visited the Kliptown Clinic and the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, where she found long queues of patients in the waiting rooms, some claiming to have been waiting to be served for more than four hours.

"The perception that primary healthcare in Gauteng was not functional is incorrect," said Ms Mokonyane. The overcrowding indicated that residents still had confidence in primary healthcare services in the province, she said.

Gauteng health promised 'major shake-up'

Gauteng provincial health minister Ntombi Mekgwe has promised a "major shake-up" in the way the provincial health department does business.

"We are going to put in place new systems and processes to ensure that there is discipline and integrity in the manner we do business," she said.

Media reports over the past few years have highlighted medicine stockouts, equipment failures, staff shortages and financial mismanagement at the province's ailing hospitals.

Premier says Gauteng is dealing with its health crisis

THE Gauteng provincial government has conceded that there is a crisis within its health department, but Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has defended her decision to retain health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe.

The rot did not lie with the political leadership, but with individuals in the department who had to be held to account, Ms Mokonyane told reporters in Pretoria on Tuesday.

"This is a department that employs more than 15000 professionals," she said. "It is very easy for people to say when there is a challenge, fire the MEC and the real culprits get away with murder."

Mokonyane: Health and social development to split

Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane has confirmed rumours that the province's beleaguered health and social development department will be split at the start of April.

"As a further intervention to ensure the effective functioning of the provincial health department, we will, with effect from April 2012, have a dedicated MEC [provincial minister] and HOD [head of department] solely for the department of health," she said on Monday.