Gauteng allocates over R55 billion to health sector, will prioritise HIV/Aids, TB

HIV/Aids and TB initiatives will get the biggest chunk of the R55.7 billion budget presented by the Gauteng Health Department for the 2020/2021 financial year. The new financial year budget is an 8% increase from the previous financial year.

The budget has been presented by Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku at the provincial legislature on Friday. He says they will prioritise the National Health Insurance, the safety of emergency medical services, mental health and HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Masuku started by honouring six health professionals who have succumbed to the global pandemic, COVID-19 in Gauteng: Professor Bernard Janse van Rensburg, Doctor Clarence Mini, Professor Anton Stoltz and nurses Margaret Huma, Rachel Keetse and Winnie Seloane at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Dr Yusuf Dadoo Hospital and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital respectively.

“These soldiers and a few others lost in the course of COVID-19 frontlines, continue to inspire us to do more. The COVID-19 pandemic lays the undisputed truth that we need universal health coverage now,” says Masuku.

Masuku says emergency medical services respond to over 100 000 calls per year, hence the close to R300 million investment in the sector this year. They have installed tracking devices in their vehicles to improve their safety.

“This year we are investing more funds to procure additional EMS vehicles to the tune of R294 million. This translates into a total of 290 ambulances. In response to the rising safety needs of our EMS personnel, we have fitted 940 EMS vehicles with tracking devices. We remain hopeful that our community outreach programme will help us arrest this negative development.”

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Mental health has also been prioritised with an increased budget allocation of R103 million this year on top of the R450 million last year which went to filling posts and refurbishment at Helen Joseph and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.

“For this year, an additional R103 million has been made available for 500 additional contracted beds at both Clinix Health Group and Life Health Care using the existing contractual obligations,” says Masuku.

Masuku says R5,2 billion has been allocated for HIV/AIDS and TB services which is an increase from R4,7 billion last year.

“The target for 2020/21 financial year includes testing 3.5 million people for HIV, retaining in treatment 1.4 million adults and 33 000 children under 15, intensifying ARV rollout. Revitalising the HCT campaign and intensifying interventions on highest risk populations for HIV and TB infection.”

Masuku says they hope to save about R2 billion through mediation for medical negligence legal cases against the department. He says they hope to complete the process of absorbing close to 9 000 community healthcare workers by the end of July this year.

The Gauteng Health MEC says they will open seven new facilities which will be instrumental in providing primary health care services as a foundation for the rollout of the National Health Insurance, its allocation has increased to R19 million this year.

Source: SABC News (