Health MEC Magome Masike kept true to his word when he commissioned the construction of two clinics and a health centre in rural Taung villages recently.
Masike was putting into action his pledge to improve and revamp primary healthcare in the area.
The MEC visited Sekhing, Tweelingspan and Buxton villages soon after his appointment over a year ago to assess healthcare delivery and the conditions under which nurses worked.
Before the end of the year, a community health centre will be built in Sekhing while Tweelingspan and Buxton will each receive a new clinic. The villages have been waiting for decent facilities since 1994.
Villagers were crossing into Northern Cape province to get access to a clinic and tensions over resources often gave rise to violence between the villagers and local residents especially when there were shortages of medication.
Masike promised improved welfare for nurses and other health professionals so that people could access the best care next to their homes.
"We want our nurses to be productive and the best way o is to improve their working conditions. Our facilities must reflect a healthy environment and they must be seen from outside as places of healing," he said.
The health department is also channelling energy into primary healthcare (PHC) in order to regain public confidence and lay a firm foundation for the roll-out of the National Health Insurance (NHI).
Masike said the PHC was the first point of entry into the healthcare system but people usually skipped this important phase and went straight to hospitals, a situation that had placed hospitals under unnecessary pressure and had affected emergency cases.
"Access to PHC is a major part of the integrated development plan at local level. As a matter of urgency and need, we prioritised access to primary healthcare by ensuring that our communities have access to a PHC facility within a 5km radius," he said.
Department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said a long-term maintenance plan had also been developed.
"This will improve conditions of primary healthcare facilities maintenance and provide suitable accommodation for health professionals at health facilities in rural areas," he said.