Pretoria – The Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria has received a donation of medical equipment from the Chinese government, as part of a cooperation agreement in health between Africa and China that was concluded in 2015.
On Tuesday, Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong visited the hospital to convene the official handover ceremony of medical imaging equipment, which included a High-end portable colour ultrasound system, SynoVent E5 Adult/Neonate ventilator and an A7 High-end anaesthesia workstation, which have all been sourced from South Africa.
The Steve Biko Academic Hospital is the first beneficiary of the agreement. Vice-Premier Liu said it was her great pleasure to be at the hospital named after the prominent freedom fighter, Steve Biko.
She paid tribute to Biko, saying he was a great man who contributed to South Africa’s liberation. The Vice-Premier said health is a crucial segment of people-to-people cooperation and that it can take China-Africa relations to greater heights if the cooperation is prioritised.
Vice-Premier Liu said China and Africa will improve cooperation in hospitals, child-maternal care and pharmaceutical companies.
South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said he could not describe in words how grateful he was for the donations, which he said will improve the quality of services delivered in public hospitals.
He assured the Vice-Premier that the equipment will be put to good use as the Steve Biko Hospital is one of the best public hospitals in the country with highly skilled staff members.
Speaking to SAnews after receiving the equipment, Hospital Chief Executive Officer Mathapelo Mathebula was overjoyed that health services will now be accessed by more patients at the hospital than ever before.
She said the hospital will now use the money which would have been used to buy the same equipment for other equipment, adding that it would have costed them more than R1.5 million.
“We have received about 24 patients monitor equipment, meaning we can have more patients monitored at the same time, unlike before. This also means that patients will not have to queue for longer hours to get services.
“We have equipment but most have reached its lifespan… we bought a lot of equipment in 2006 but it is currently limping, and we have started replacing it slowly since about four years ago.
“Also, this will assist us to retain staff because our employees are specialists in different healthcare fields and now that we have tools of trades they will not think about leaving our hospital for private hospitals, this will motivate them to stay,” she said.
She said the equipment will also be used to train health professionals and graduates that practice at the hospital since Steve Biko is also a training hospital.