KZN HEALTH DEPARTMENT RAISES STANDARD OF ITS SERVICES
By: Nompilo Kunene
The Kwa-Zulu Natal Department of Health yesterday handed over 26 Mobile Clinics to the public and unveiled the KZN Children’s Hospital.
KZN Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said that the Mobile Clinics will be distributed province wide. Dhlomo also said that the mobile clinics were motivated by the fact that not all communities can have clinics due to factors such as the community’s size or its location.
“Every South African citizen has the right to access health services so this initiative serves in that manner. The Mobile clinics will be able to travel to communities which do not have clinics,” said Dhlomo.
The 26 Mobile Clinics were showcased yesterday outside the Addington Hospital, while the MEC described the mobile clinics features and how each vehicle will serve the community. Dhlomo also stated that there are also Forensic Medical Services Vehicles which will work in partnership with the Department of Transport.
The vehicles were designed to go to roadblocks so that when someone is suspected of drinking under the influence of alcohol, the person will be tested immediately. This is due to the many cases where people who were caught driving under the influence of alcohol did not go to court due to the lack of evidence of alcohol found in their blood.
“Very soon we are going to be unveiling a forensic laboratory in this province to speed up the process of convicting drunken drivers,” said Dhlomo.
The unveiling of the KZN Children’s Hospital was the other highlight of the event. The KZN Children’s Hospital site is owned by the provincial Department of Health and is designated for children’s health services. It is neighbouring the Addington Hospital on Durban beachfront and consists of seven buildings, four of which are heritage buildings in various situations of disrepair.
“We want this to be a world class hospital; we are planning on what we want and not what we can do as a minimum. So far we have spent approximately R18 million and at this point and time we are looking at R300 million for the entire project,” said Dr Arthi Ramkissoon, CEO of the KZN Children’s Hospital Trust.
The Addington Children’s Hospital was built in 1928 and was the first hospital for children on the African continent. In 1984 the hospital was closed by the apartheid government because it offered services to children of all races. The hospital had remained closed for the past 28 years and had deteriorated into a state of poor conditions.
The entire project consists of four phases and so far just the first phase has been completed. The KZN Department of Health has pledged R50 million towards the overall infrastructure and will also budget for the operational costs and the costs of maintenance. A further R200 million is required for the completion of the project. The Trust continues to seek corporate and individual support to complete the project.
The KZN Children’s Hospital is said to benefit three million children residing in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province.