Health dept receives multimillion-rand equipment from German Development Bank

Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, has welcomed the multimillion-rand donation of mobile health clinics from the German Development Bank (KfW) in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The Minister said the donation supports efforts by the South African government to strengthen the public health system. 'Today is one of the most exciting days for the National Department of Health and the provincial departments as we formally acknowledge the support we received from the German government, through the German Development Bank and the DG Murray Trust. 'The governments of Germany and South Africa have enjoyed a very fruitful relationship across several departments for a while now,' he said on Thursday. Phaahla was speaking at the official hand over of the equipment at the Town Hill Hospital. The Minister was joined by the German Ambassador to South Africa, Andreas Peschke, Deputy Health Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane, leaders from local government and DG Murray Tr ust. The donated assets, valued at R500 million, include specialised vaccine fridges, vaccine carriers, temperature monitoring devices, notebooks, tablets and mobile health clinics. Phaahla said the 46 mobile clinics have contributed to changing people's lives and that they have reached 1.9 million individuals with direct interpersonal interactions. 'I will work with the MECs to sustain and maintain these assets when the funding ends in September this year.' Phaahla said the mobile units operate in four provinces including Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and are operated by professional nurses, communicators and local mobilisers supported by the #KeReady youthful doctors. 'These units are serving as the bedrock of our campaign to get closer to the youth community and highlight the challenges that face youth life,' said the Minister. 'We consider the Ambassador and his team as friends; friends who did not abandon us at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but stayed with us and provided suppor t for specific vulnerable communities in the informal settlements. 'We thank you for the precise, strategic and tailored programmes you brought into our primary healthcare ecosystem,' he said. He told the attendees that today's gathering was not just a celebration but an occasion to showcase the countries' bilateral relationship and to demonstrate that their relationship was beneficial to both nations. 'Our vision and objectives for the health sector have been expressed in many documents and on many other platforms.' The Universal Health Access through the National Health Insurance (NHI), he said, was a vision South Africa strives towards, working with the private sector. 'We are committed to this vision and the outcomes we envisage despite the huge setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic.' He noted German's specific targeted programmes, which are evidence-based and believes that will have an impact. The focus includes children who are reached through the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme, y oung people in hard-to-reach areas, community-led social mobilisation campaigns, strong monitoring and evaluation systems and cost-effective approaches. 'Ambassador, we recognise that you give our people a hand to uplift them out of poverty, instead of once-off hand-outs which are not sustainable," said Phaahla. He acknowledged the German government for its support during the COVID-19 response. Phaahla expressed his gratitude for German's forward-thinking approach, which he described as 'precise and impactful'. 'We will scale it up as we move forward and apply lessons learned to our programmes.' Source: South African Government News Agency