French Government Donates R13 Billion for Grabouw Community Health Centre Upgrade
The French President had made an undertaking to donate funds towards increasing Anti-Retroviral (ART) infrastructure when he visited Western Cape about 18 months ago. As a result the French Government and the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health signed an agreement to support the renovation and extension of the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Grabouw.
Speaking at the official signing ceremony, the French Ambassador, Mr Jacques Lapouge revealed that the French Government, through the French Development Agency (AFD) is financing multiple development projects in Africa. In South Africa in particular, the French Government is funding municipalities, Transnet and various development agencies. AFD is also one of the big funders for the Global Fund fight against HIV & AIDS and malaria. They are proud to be donating approximately R13m towards the renovation and extension of the Grabouw Community Health Centre.
Once completed, the Grabouw CHC will be able to accommodate more patients for Anti-Retro Viral Treatment, thus improving the quality of services to the community of Grabouw. Construction is expected to be completed in February 2012.
Both the National Strategic Plan (NSP) and the Provincial Strategic Plan (PSP) for HIV & AIDS advocate a reduction in new HIV infections by fifty percent (50%) and improving access to services by eighty percent (80%) by 2011.
The two major constraints for the inclusion of more patients to the ARV Treatment program are the shortage of human resources and the lack of health infrastructure. To meet the existing demand, health services dedicated to AIDS and TB patients require a significant increase and to be implemented closer to the communities, especially in the most affected high risk areas. As a result the French government responded to these departmental objectives with their generous donation.
Theuns Botha, Western Cape Health Minister: "I want to stress one of my core messages: government does not have the financial resources to attend to the dire needs at provincial hospitals. We cannot do this alone. We are so grateful to the French government for their continued support to this province, and for recognising the areas where we need assistance."
Antiretroviral treatment for AIDS patients is currently provided at primary health care level in about sixty six (66) accredited sites across the Western Cape Province. Given the rapid and constant increase of patients, AIDS case management and working conditions therefore become more and more challenging. The Western Cape Provincial Department of Health is currently implementing an investment program with the aim of extending and renovating all existing Community Health Centers (CHCs), in order to integrate services dedicated to the management of AIDS and tuberculosis and other chronic diseases such as diabetes.
The Department has also found innovative ways for the provision of these additional services. One of this is task shifting, which involve the delegation of activities from doctors or nurses to less qualified category staff, e.g.: nurses (rather than doctors) to initiate anti-retroviral treatment or counseling performed by lay counselors (rather than nurses).
The renovation and upgrading of Grabouw CHC will provide the backbone for decentralisation of ART services and thus increase the new enrolment of ARV patients.
The extension and renovation will involve the construction of the sub-waiting area and accompanying toilet areas for 40 people, a data capturing room, a procedure room, four consulting rooms and four counseling rooms. In addition it will also entail the upgrading of a pharmacy with a holding store, dispensing area, office, toilet and rest areas for staff.
Located in the Overberg district, the Grabouw Community Health Centre covers a population of about fifty thousand (50 000), mostly farmers and farm workers. Grabouw is a large agricultural plain and one of South Africa's greatest fruit exporting areas. Approximately forty five thousand (45 000) of these farm workers live in informal settings, while about five thousand (5000) are migrants coming from Eastern Cape.
The CHC offers all outpatients services for adults and children, prenatal care and deliveries, immunisations, etc.). AIDS and tuberculosis services (prevention and treatment) were recently added to the existing services. Because of the lack of space, these services are rendered outside the main building in a prefab building. Given the steady increase of patients, the main building is overcrowded and prenatal services in particular are performed in saturated spaces.
Office of the Head of Health
Provincial Government of the Western Cape
Department of Health
Tel: 021 483 3235
Cell: 082 801 6960
Fax: 021 483 6169