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On Health


Despite being a basic human right, most of our people who are economically vulnerable and rely on the public health-care system, do not enjoy the right to quality health care. The South African health care system is crumbling and is characterised by weak health systems management, poor working conditions, low staff morale and insufficient human resources.  The public healthcare system yields poor health outcomes relative to total health expenditure, inefficiency and overall poor delivery of healthcare services.

 

The poor outcomes of the public healthcare system become evident when one looks at maternal and infant mortality. The Millennium Development Goals country report estimates maternal mortality ratio to be 625 per 100 000, with the global target being set at 100 or less per 100 000.  Infant mortality is presently estimated to be 104 per 1000 live births whereas the global target is 20 or less per 1000.This means giving birth in public healthcare facilities is a risky proposition for both mother and child and this disproportionately affects women from poor and working class communities.

 

Added to the challenges facing public health-care is the fact that a BachelorsDegree has been made a basic qualification for a registered nurse. This means only universities would offer such a qualification and Nursing Education Institutions, which have been producing the majority of registered nurses, would not be able to offer a basic nursing qualification.    This is likely to exacerbate the shortage of skilled and qualified health-care professionals.

 

Due to poor management and outright incompetence, the public healthcare system is ill-equipped to handle our countries major health challenges: HIV and Aids and related diseases such as TB, Maternal and Child mortality, the increase in lifestyle related and non-communicable diseases among others

 

In building a healthy nation able to support the nation’s development, an AZAPO government will:

  • Begin by getting the basics rights!  This means an AZAPO led government will institute good leadership and good governance across all levels of the public healthcare system. AZAPO will start by appointing appropriately qualified personnel at all management levels and will provide them with the requisite resources to ensure quality services.  Officials will be held accountable for the performance of the areas and facilities for which they are responsible.
  • Guarantee access to healthcare by instituting universal healthcare coverage. AZAPO favours a single payer model which means government will pay for all medical services at the point of need. Such coverage will be financed through taxes.
  • Increase the geographical foot print of the public healthcare system by working with municipalities to establish municipal healthcare facilities that provide primary healthcare and are able to, at least, provide emergency medical treatment in order to stabilize a patient.
  • Ensure that within a radius of 100km of rural towns there is a public healthcare facility that is able to provide secondary healthcare.
  • Allow healthcare services to be rendered in both private and public institutions.  However, payment through public coverage at private institutions will be pegged at the same level as that of public healthcare institutions.
  • Place special emphasis on primary healthcare as a first line of defenceagainst diseases and illness.A well-managed and professionally run municipal healthcare system that is able to investigate outbreaks of disease, monitor the environment and health promotion could have a major impact on the overall health of most South Africans.
  • Support and increase training in specialised nursing particularly advance midwifery, child care and primary healthcare, in order to lower child and maternal mortality and to improve primary healthcare,
  • Ensure that nursing colleges are able to offer the basic qualification needed to be a registered nurse. This will allow Nursing Colleges to continue training and providing the system with much needed nurses
  • Support and encourage young people to take up careers in the healthcare.
  • Provide for a special bursary scheme for the training of doctors, nurse and all healthcare professionals
  • Engage in bilateral  agreement with other country that will see doctors coming to work in South Africa
  • Improve the working conditions of health professionals by making them safe, providing the necessary equipment and supplies that will allow them to perform at their best and ensure health professionals are paid decent salaries that are reflective of their importance and role in society.
  • Increase public awareness of lifestyle related, non-communicable diseases
  • Combat and de-stigmatise HIV and AIDS by amongst others, expanding the roll-out ofantiretrovirals while continuing public education on HIV and AIDS in order to limit its spread
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