Pretoria – KwaZulu-Natal is on course to reach the target of 2.6 million people tested for HIV.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu said through Provider Initiated Counselling and Testing, the province has already tested more than two million people (2 098 402).
“We will intensify our new approach to counselling and testing from a single HIV focus to a more inclusive and comprehensive service delivery model offered to all patients at their point of entry to our health system,” Premier Mchunu said during his State of the Province Address on Wednesday.
The WHO/UNAIDS (World Health Organization/United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) guidance advises that health care providers globally should recommend HIV testing and counselling to all patients who present with conditions that might suggest underlying HIV disease.
Premier Mchunu said that whilst the province celebrates its successes in combating HIV and Aids, they are concerned about an increasing number of women and young girls who are becoming positive.
“Though over the past five years we have recorded a decrease in the positivity rate from 22% to about 13%, we believe that we need to double our efforts. Accordingly, our HIV prevention strategies will be focused on reducing the incidence of HIV in this high risk group,” he said.
Re-engineering primary healthcare
The Premier said government is encouraged to see that KwaZulu-Natal is the first province to successfully re-engineer primary healthcare to ensure universal access to health facilities.
He reported that district specialist teams have been established in all districts with all nursing posts filled, and the Provincial Department of Health has also ensured that about 151 ward based outreach teams are operating in 169 deprived wards.
In addition, more than 1.2 million households have been registered by community care givers.
“We are committed to increase the number of medical doctors in our health care system and therefore to increase the doctor-population ratio,” the Premier said.
Centralized Chronic Medication Dispensing Programme
Given the fact that chronic ill-health is the leading cause of death in South Africa, the Premier said the provincial department is aggressively implementing a Centralized Chronic Medication Dispensing and Distribution Programme.
Currently, there are 1 081 pickup points for chronic medication collection across the province with about 293 546 patients already registered.
The provincial government has over the years increased spending on healthcare infrastructure.
The largest portion of this expenditure has been going to the revitalization and construction of new health facilities totalling billions of rands across the province especially in rural areas.
More than 167 Primary Health Care clinics have also been accredited as Ideal Clinics.
Access to primary and secondary schooling
On education, Premier Mchunu said access to primary and secondary schooling in the province has reached near universal enrolment, with more than 70% participation rate for children aged four and five (Grade R) in Early Childhood Development.
Currently, there are about 1 689 early childhood development centres funded by government with 93 290 children subsidized.
The Premier also paid tribute to the Class of 2016 for the increase in the National Senior Certificate pass rate from 60% to 69.5%.
He said that they will continue to mobilize communities to be part of education through Operation Sukuma Sakhe and the Turn Around Programme of the Department of Education.