Health Department gets clean bill of health from Auditor General
The Western Cape Department of Health today (16 October 2019) presented its 2018/19 Annual Report to the Standing Committee. During this financial year the Department spent R23.044 billion, which is 99.8% of its total budget and received a clean audit from the Auditor General – the first Health Department in the country to receive a clean audit outcome.
“The 2018/19 financial year has not been short of its challenges within public healthcare,” said Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Health. “The public health system generally is under severe pressure. We are faced with budget cuts, urbanization and in-migration, a burning service platform, drought and water shortages, disease outbreaks and escalating burden of disease, staff safety remains a challenge, and disasters like fires,” Minister Mbombo said while addressing the Committee.
Despite these challenges:
- the Western Cape has some of the best health outcomes out of all nine provinces
- Western Cape citizens have the highest life expectancy in the country with lower mortality rates approximately, 91.5% of the citizens in the Western Cape have access to health services within 30 minutes of their residence
While the clean audit is a major achievement, the Department continues to invest in other good governance initiatives to transform and boost its system to meet the various public health system challenges. Such initiatives include training, leadership development, system design and working with multiple partners in whole-system development. This kind of system strengthening is an important preparation towards universal health coverage.
In addressing the growing demand for services the Department has also placed big emphasis on a new service delivery model – Community Orientated Primary Care, where healthcare workers physically go into communities and households, extending the network of healthcare into patient’s homes and linking citizens to other parts of government services. The service model has already been rolled out at 20 learning sites with more sites to be added across the province.
In 2018/19 there were:
- 14.1 million primary care contacts (this does not include contacts in home and community-based care setting)
- 96 249 baby deliveries
- 484 946 patients transported with emergency care services, of which 31.4 per cent were priority 1
- 288 199 patients admitted to 33 acute district hospitals
- 125 976 patients admitted to 16 regional and specialised hospitals
- 140 392 patients admitted in central/tertiary hospitals
- 7 591 cataract operations performed
- 278 027 patients on antiretroviral treatment
- 0.3 per cent mother to child HIV transmission rate at 10 weeks
- 3 588 home and community based care workers linked to our services
- capital projects completed include the delivery of new clinics in Mossel Bay, extensions to the pharmacy at Wellington CDC and a new clinic in Wolseley
Another initiative in reaching more citizens is through public engagement. Minister Mbombo explained: “The patient voice through statutory stakeholder bodies is important to us. The Western Cape Health Facility Boards and Committee Act was promulgated in 2016, and the regulations were gazetted on 7 December 2017. The process of establishing clinic committees commenced in January 2018 and implementation is work in progress.
“None of the incredible work we have done would have been possible without the support of the Head of Department and her top management team, as well as the nearly thirty-two thousand staff members. I would like to thank each staff member for their resilience amidst the current challenges,” Minister Mbombo concluded.