R2 billion set aside to fight Covid-19 raging in Gauteng
'Additional support is required to augment capacity to adequately respond to the pandemic and the burden imposed on the health system.
Elderly South Africans receive the Covid-19 vaccine at the Munsieville Centre for the Aged as part of phase two of the vaccine campaign. Picture: Michel Bega
A sum of R2 billion has been set aside for the fight against Covid-19 infections raging across Gauteng.
This was revealed on Thursday by health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi during the provincial health budget vote speech.
The Gauteng department of health has been allocated a total of R56.5 billion in the 2021-22 financial year and R169.6 billion over the 2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework to fund the provision of quality health services.
Mokgethi said additional clinical and administrative support was required to augment the provincial capacity to adequately respond to the pandemic and the burden imposed on the health system.
“In this regard, 7,374 posts were created during the financial year 2020-21 at a cost of more than R1.5 billion,” Mokgethi said.
“The department has also taken a conscious effort to prioritise infrastructure as a catalyst in the context of Covid-19. We have invested in additional infrastructure and clinical care to enhance the capacity of beds in various hospitals across the province.”
While Gauteng’s Covid-19 statistics spiral, the portfolio committee on health in Parliament has raised concerns that the unavailability of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH) will compromise the public health system’s ability to manage the third wave in Gauteng.
The committee conducted an oversight visit to Gauteng to assess the province’s healthcare facilities in rolling out Phase II of the vaccination programme as well as measures in place to manage the third wave.
“It will be practically impossible for the province to manage the third wave without more than 1,000 beds which are inclusive of 124 intensive care unit beds at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital,” committee chairperson Sibongiseni Dhlomo said.
Mokgethi said there are a total number of 3,840 dedicated Covid-19 beds in the public sector, while there are also an additional 747 beds ready for activation.
She said that this is one example of many practical initiatives the department had put in place to remain tactical and vigilant, to plan for the best and prepare for the worst.
“Noting that Covid-19 status remain fluid, there is no precise scientific prediction of its probable devastation,” Mokgethi said.