This morning (24 February 2011) in Gugulethu, a strategic partnership was launched between the Western Cape Department of Health and Clicks, named the Helping Hands Trust. In terms of the partnership, Clicks pharmacies will offer free clinic services, baby education and healthcare advice at selected clinics every Thursday afternoon, for mothers whose babies are born in state hospitals.
Launching the Trust at the Clicks Pharmacy in Gugulethu Square, Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said that in terms of the DA's commitment to contributing to the National Department of Health's effort in reaching the Millennium Development Goals, with specific reference to child mortality and women's health, the Western Cape provincial government welcomes the Clicks offer.
In partnership with the Department of Health, Clicks has taken up the challenge by launching the Moms and Babies Project through the Helping Hand Trust. The Western Cape is the first province to take up and implement the offer.
Free immunisation, baby feeding and nutritional advice, baby weighing and family planning will initially be offered at Clicks Gugulethu Square on Thursday afternoons. The project will soon be rolled out to selected stores countrywide, with the long-term goal of extending the services to mobile clinics for moms and babies in outlying areas.
To help fund this initiative, Clicks staff and suppliers will be encouraged to 'lend a helping hand', whilst five percent of the proceeds of Clicks-branded baby products marked with the Helping Hand logo will be donated to the Moms and Babies trust.
Botha said "The strategic partnership is in tandem with Provincial Government's objective to co-opt the private sector in addressing solutions for health issues in our province. In this regard, Clicks with its more than 50 pharmaceutical outlets in this province, can play a major role."
Botha invited other private sector role players to join provincial government's efforts to improve wellness by capitalising on existing facilities, rather than building new facilities. Botha pointed out that recent surveys demonstrated that the Western Cape already achieved the best results with regard to delivery of health services in the country.
"We are managing outcomes in this province in accordance with World Health Organisation standards," he said.
"This kind of business model, where part of the profits generated from the purely commercial side of the Clicks business is apportioned to rendering services to public sector patients, also harmonises with our province's social enterprise strategy," said Botha.
Ultimately, this heralds a first phase by the Clicks Group to provide additional access points for a package of primary healthcare services to the people of the Western Cape. This gives them wider choices in terms of where they can access services.
Botha said it is encouraging to see, first hand, how private sector companies are responding to various conversations with the provincial government, and how they are taking their co-responsibility for the economic and physical health of our people very seriously.
South Africa is one of 12 countries worldwide where the infant mortality rate is increasing. As such, it has become imperative for the private sector to become involved in helping South Africa reach the Millennium Development Goal's target of reducing the mortality rate of under-fives by two-thirds and increased coverage of immunizations to 90% by 2015.
"Having access to basic healthcare is a constitutional right," said Mike Harvey, the Managing Director of Clicks. "Through our over 260 pharmacies we can help lessen the burden on state facilities by offering help for mothers and babies from less privileged communities, as well as those without access to medical aid."
Western Cape Minister of Health