Health at the forefront of government’s agenda: MTBPS - CNBC Africa

Health at the forefront of government’s agenda: MTBPS

Southern Africa

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Health at the forefront of government’s agenda. PHOTO:

Nearly 11 per cent of total spending has been allocated to the health department.

“The quality of our education system and our health services needs to be improved. These will remain the top priorities of government spending,” the Treasury said on Wednesday.

The government has placed a large share of its funds into the expansion of the provision of antiretroviral drugs, which reach 2.7 million people. The expansion antiretroviral programme is expected to exceed its target for the 2014/15 plan.

“The expansion of the antiretroviral programme resulted in 206 392 new patients being enrolled for treatment in the first four months of 2014/15. The targeted number of 500 000 new patients will be exceeded if this trend continues for the rest of the financial year,” it said.

There has been a significant decrease of mother to child transmission of HIV.

“The target of 2 per cent was already exceeded in the first four months of 2014/15. Only 1.6 per cent of babies born from HIV positive mothers tested within two months were HIV positive,” the Treasury said.

With just over 50 per cent of mothers having access to antenatal care before 20 weeks into their pregnancy, the department will make use of, cell phone based application, MomConnect to offer mothers advice during pregnancy.

“It will send messages to pregnant women providing them with advice on the actions to be taken at the different stages of their pregnancy and also encouraging them to start antenatal care at an early stage,” said Treasury.

One of the main unforeseeable and unavoidable expenditures incurred by the department was assisting in dealing with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Nene mentioned in his speech that 32.6 million rand went towards Ebola control, prevention methods and support for affected countries.

Over the years the South African health care system has been called out for poor health services, however, the department reports they an improved health care service system.

“The sector is expanding school health services and ward based outreach services, which will result in fewer people requiring visits to fixed primary health care facilities for preventative and health promotion care,” Treasury said.