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.
"Another priority for the department in the current financial year is re-engineering primary health care (PHC). The budget allocation for strengthening district health services has been increased by 16% to R8.1 billion," Mekgwe said.
To further boost PHC, the department will make the Zola, Stretford, Empilisweni, Chiawelo and Eersterus community health centres operate on a 24-hour basis - a move that will help ease the pressure and long queues at neighbouring hospitals.
Ten health posts will be established to serve households in communities, and will focus on health promotion, prevention of infectious and chronic diseases as well as referral to appropriate services.
To boost the number of healthcare workers, reduce workloads and ensure that patients receive the best care possible, Mekgwe said the department would continue to train doctors and nurses.
Since 1998, 30 students have been sent to Cuba to be trained as medical doctors and out of these, 29 graduated and 26 remain in the system.
"In September this year, we will send 100 students to Cuba to be trained as medical doctors," said Mekgwe.
By the end of January 2012, 725 nurses had completed their four-year training programme and had been deployed to various hospitals and clinics throughout the province.
The department is currently refurbishing the provincial nursing college residences and R12 million has been set aside for this purpose.
Student performance at all nursing colleges is also being monitored in order to improve the pass rate. A clinical department will be re-introduced at all nursing colleges.
Mekgwe said by the end of June this year, the department would have finalised the appointments of hospital boards and the mental health review boards, whose terms of office have expired.
"We have ensured that we appoint people with the requisite skills so that they add value to the governance of our hospitals. These boards will ensure that in pursuit of their fiduciary responsibilities, CEOs and hospital managers will be given the space to focus on ensuring that quality health services are provided at our facilities."
On HIV and Aids and TB, Mekgwe announced that anti-retroviral treatment sites will be increased from 355 to 403, as the province targets to test four million people for HIV.
The budget for the HIV and Aids programme has increased by 17% to R1.9 billion, with the TB programme being allocated R213 million.