Some of the issues discussed at Parliament's Health Portfolio Committee Meeting included TB, immunisation, TOP and health financing.
Deputy director general for strategic health programmes Nthari Matsau said on 27/02 that the number of Dots (directly observed treatment) districts would grow this year from 128 to 174, giving coverage of the whole country. Addressing Parliament's health portfolio committee, she said the World Health Organisation had evaluated the programme as working very well in South Africa.
Matsau said that traditionally, TB had been managed through a partnership between government and non-governmental organisations Santa and Lifecare. Some aspects of this had been problematic, and the department would this year review the whole structure of TB management, including contracts, to make it more efficient. Matsau also said the department would this year add a new behavioural component to its annual antenatal HIV/AIDS survey. We have never had a survey telling us if there is any behavioural change and its impact on the AIDS epidemic, she said.
The department aimed to increase immunisation coverage of infants for the routine eight immunisations, including measles, from the present 63 percent to 70 percent over the coming 12 months.
The number of designated termination of pregnancy centres, and of professionals trained to administer the procedure, would be increased.
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang told the committee her department was concerned about a decline in per capita health spending in historically disadvantaged provinces. The department was looking into the matter. It would also nudge provincial health departments into appointing chief financial officers to improve financial management.
She said the department would this year develop a centre to test home brew concoctions to protect the public from toxic mixtures.
(Source: SAPA, 27/02/01)