Major upgrade for Cecilia Makiwane Hospital

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says investing in infrastructure such as the new wing of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in the Eastern Cape will contribute significantly to improving the health of the people of Mdantsane.

“It is a facility that will allow us to expand government’s e-health strategy by providing advanced clinical support to rural areas. These investments in infrastructure, technology and innovation will contribute significantly to improve the health outcomes for the people of Mdantsane and the region,” said the Deputy President on Sunday.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new wing of the hospital in Mdantsane, East London, Deputy President Ramaphosa said investments in infrastructure to the tune of R1 billion will support local economic development in the townships.

“They will also support local government efforts to improve community infrastructure. As we revitalise public health infrastructure, we are also expanding opportunities for local communities to improve their lives through job creation and local enterprise development.”

Deputy President Ramaphosa said the 526-bed hospital is a national asset that must be treasured and celebrated. The hospital is supported by an integrated system that will optimise efficiencies in the delivery of quality health care. The integrated system, which uses technological innovation, will cut down patient waiting times, improve diagnosis and improve health outcomes.

The hospital will provide support to districts and maternity units through telemedicine and outreach programmes by specialist teams.

“This state-of-the-art health facility is a victory in our people’s cause to build a united, equal, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society. The unveiling of the new wing of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital takes place during Heritage Month.”

He paid tribute to nursing pioneer Cecilia Makiwane, after whom the hospital is named. Makiwane was South Africa’s first professional black nurse.

Government 15 years ago introduced the Cecilia Makiwane Nurse’s Recognition Award for distinguished health care professionals in her honour. As both teacher and nurse, Makiwane chose vocations where she would make her greatest contributions to the betterment of her people’s lives.

Deputy President Ramaphosa said struggle stalwart Steve Biko, who built the Zanempilo Community Health Centre for the rural community of Zinyoka outside King William’s Town, would be pleased that all is being done to ensure health care for everyone.

Implementation of the NHI

“Come rain or shine, South Africa will have the inclusive National Health Insurance to ensure quality, safety, and efficient health provision for all our citizens,” said the Deputy President.

Government is implementing the NHI to ensure health equity by reorganising the public and private health system. Through the NHI, funds will be pooled to provide access to quality health services for all South Africans based on their health needs, irrespective of their socio-economic status.

Already, South Africa spends far above the recommended 5% by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health, while the public health system also caters for more than 80% of the population.

The country’s private sector spends around 4.4% of GDP on health but only caters for a small population around 16% of the entire population.

“These inequities are not only unjust but are unsustainable. They reflect old patterns of privilege. And they certainly do not advance the constitutional ideals of transformation, inclusion, and equality.”

- SAnews.gov.za