By Youlendree Appasamy
The Eastern Cape Budget Statement Policy outlines health infrastructure as one of its main priorities in the 2014/2015 year. The smooth roll-out of the National Health Insurance (NHI) has in some part led to this emphasis on health infrastructure. The white paper on NHI was recently released and in this the funding for NHI is explicitly stated. “Since 2012, a Conditional Grant has been allocated to the provision of the NHI and it is still working of it this year,” said Tokozile Mtsolongo from the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM).
The Conditional Grant budget allocation is separate to Eastern Cape Department of Health’s usual budget but is in place to fund pilot NHI projects and improve health infrastructure. OR Tambo district has been chosen as one of ten NHI pilot project locations in South Africa.
Phase one of NHI is the creation of accessible and effective health care facilities, as well as improvements on existing public health facilities. According to the Department of Health, “There needs to be a radical improvement in the quality of services in the public health facilities”. The equipment and buildings used in the health care sector will be upgraded according to the green paper on NHI.
Implementation of NHI in the next year will build on the community dialogues held with various stakeholders. These include municipalities, health care officials and individuals such as general practitioners. For support and technical contribution, the NGO sector organisation will be called in to help upgrade and monitor public healthcare facilities. According to Eastern Cape Estimates of Provincial Revenue and Expenditure 2014/2015, provincial office spearheaded drives from the National Department of Health will also take place, via Facility Implementation Teams.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are also earmarked for investment and improvement in the health sector in the Eastern Cape. The LOGIS system, an IT and administration related infrastructural system, is rolled-out from this year.