IFP plans to revive ‘ailing’ KZN public health sector

2009-02-16 00:00

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s plan to resuscitate the “ailing” public health sector in the province includes declaring HIV/Aids and TB provincial emergencies.

Speaking yesterday, during the first press conference of many to be held every Monday until the election, IFP’s premier candidate Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi said that after declaring these diseases as provincial disasters, the party will adopt a “back to the drawing board” approach.

She said that the IFP would increase the number of clinics offering HIV testing from 68% in 2007 to 100% within the first year and increase provision of Nevirapine to HIV-positive pregnant mothers from 61% to 100%.

TB smear conversion rate (an indicator of the success of the initial TB treatment), said KaMagwaza-Msibi, will be substantially increased from the current rate of 56%.

“We will integrate traditional healers into HIV/Aids programmes by establishing a registration system at local clinics,” she said.

Another one of the IFP’s plans to revive the public health sector is to continue building hospitals. KaMagwaza-Msibi said that the ANC has not built a single hospital since winning the province.

She added that her party will also work with health professionals and harness their expertise to improve the standard of healthcare. The IFP is of the view that the state of the public sector relapsed because the ruling party put non-medical practitioners to head the department.

Former premier and leader of the IFP caucus in the legislature Lionel Mtshali said the ANC made a “blunder” by appointing Peggy Nkonyeni to be MEC for Health, saying that a health practitioner should head the department. The IFP highlighted the over-expenditure of the 2007/2008 budget by two billion resulting in a moratorium on the filling of most critical posts as a major failure.

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