The Department of Health is to use its volunteer programme during April this year to improve the quality of care it provides, the department announced on Wednesday.
We will observe closely the quality of service provided in all heath institutions. This will include improving relations between health officers and patients, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's spokesman Sibani Mngadi told Sapa in Pretoria.
Another area of major focus will be to look at the role of community structures in the health system - their involvement in the running and maintenance of hospitals and clinics.
At the African National Congress' 90th birthday celebrations in Durban earlier this month President Thabo Mbeki said 2002 would be the year of the volunteer for reconstruction and development.
He said that during April, volunteers should assist the government in the delivery of health services.
Mngadi said the department was still drafting a nation-wide programme outlining various activities for the month.
At the moment we are engaged with all ANC structures and provincial health MECs regarding our preparations.
The document would be made public before the end of February.
Tshabalala-Msimang would also be involved in the programme.
Asked if the theft of drugs and linen in some institutions, like Soweto's Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, would be addressed, Mngadi said communities would be made aware of such discrepancies.
Theft is a major obstacle in the delivery of health services and people have to know about this. We plan to mobilise all communities against this practice because it is done in many other hospitals as well.
Mngadi said HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases were among the challenges the department would address in April.
Source: SAPA, 16 January 2002