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Speech by KZN Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, on the occasion of Taking Health Services to uMgungundlovu Taxi Rank

30 October 2014

It gives us a great pleasure today to come and launch this very crucial and necessary service to you as Taxi bosses; drivers; assistants; traders and passengers.

The UMgungundlovu District remains one of the regions with the highest HIV prevalence in the Province and is also one of the 10 Districts in South Africa with high HIV prevalence as it is currently estimated at 40.7%

We have thus made it our mission as both Department and Government to pour resources to change things around for the 1 million people residing in this all important District, of which 46% are males.

Our interventions here are greatly enhanced by the fact that UMgungundlovu District is one of the three sites selected to pilot the National Health Insurance initiative aimed at improving access to quality health services for all South Africans, irrespective of whether they are employed or not.

More resources have thus been poured here that have enabled us to employ and deploy 890 Community Care Givers; establish 22 Chronic Medication Distribution Sites; create 47 Phila Mntwana (Child Health Centres); contract 14 Family Medical Practitioners who visit clinics; deploy 23 School Health Teams as well as 14 Family Health Teams. Indeed progress has been reported and noticed on the ground as a result of these combined initiatives.

Programme Director, amidst all the innovations stated above, there is a popular belief that says men do not visit health institutions for screenings, checkups and ailments. We are told that they present themselves when their conditions of illness are at the critical stage.

I have never believed that, as I am of the view that people who make these allegations do so without considering the nature of work men in this industry are involved in and the operating hours this business is busy at.

A quick assessment by our Department has made us realize that from dawn to mid-morning the people involved in the Taxi business get very busy, ensuring that people get to work early and safe and also making it a point that students get to school on time and safe as well.

We now know that around 10h00 taxis are parked; owners and drivers get a break until mid – afternoon before they start transporting commuters back home.

We have also realized that most commuters leave home early and come back home when some of our clinics in their areas have closed for the day.

We are thus very appreciative of the fact that SANTACO and allied Taxi Associations have agreed to get into a partnership with the Department and reserved space for us to offer Health Services at the following Taxi Ranks:

• Emgodini Taxi Rank
• Market Square Taxi Rank [ here a nurse will be stationed on a permanent basis, operating in the office allocated]
• Retief Street Taxi Rank
• Masukwane Taxi Rank
• Imbali Taxi Rank

At these Taxi Ranks we are ready and very prepared to assist the Taxi owners; drivers; vendors and the commuters with the following services:

• Identification and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension etc.
• Eye test
• Counselling and testing of HIV
• Screening and treatment of Sexual Transmitted Diseases
• TB screening
• Womens’ Health i.e. Family Planning, Pregnancy Tests, Breast Cancer Examination and Pap smear
• Medical Male Circumcision –very concerned that since April 2010 to August 2014 only 56 146 males have been circumcised in this District out of more than 430 000 males we have here.
• Condom distribution

Programme Director, the most important aspect of this mobile clinic is its capability to provide means of screening and check-ups that assist in early identification of ailments that may complicate if not attended to earlier. Remember, early detection saves lives!!

The reality of the situation is that the Province of KwaZulu-Natal is the epicentre for HIV and AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB); high maternal and child mortality, alarming and ever-increasing incidence of Non-Communicable diseases as well as the pandemic of violence and trauma.

We have to agree that all of us here, as vendors, passengers, consumers, taxi-drivers, taxi-owners, taxi-conductors form part of the greater society and that we are all exposed to some form of health risks e.g. tobacco smoke, consequences of alcohol and drug abuse, unsafe sexual behavior etc.

We thus have to work together for the attainment of the noble goal of “A long and healthy life for all South Africans.”

Our focus should not be limited to the present but be on the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 vision that says by then South Africa should have:

• Raised the life expectancy of South Africans to at least 70 years;
• Produced a generation of under-20s that is largely free of HIV;
• Reduced the burden of disease;
• Achieved an infant mortality rate of less than 20 deaths per thousand live births, including an under-5 Mortality rate of less than 30 per thousand;
• Achieved a significant shift in equity, efficiency and quality of health service provision;
• Achieved universal coverage;
• Significantly reduced the social determinants of disease and adverse ecological factors.

Preparing for the 2030 NDP ideal starts here with all of us making means to ensure that we are all alive and healthy then. From us as the Department we are ready to provide the following:
• HIV Counseling and Testing in this Mobile and in all our facilities
• Screen and provide treatment for Tuberculosis
• We have made it easier for all testing positive by introducing Fixed Dose Combination ARV (FDC)
• We test and treat Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and recommend that partners be brought along
• We supply and distribute Condoms and also promote that they be used all the times when people engage in sexual activity
• We supply Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to all victims of sexual abuse to ensure that they do no contract HIV.
• We promote the notion that all males undergo Medical Male Circumcision and then go further time to be inaugurated by His Majesty into the IZICHWE battalion [babuthwe!]
• We recommend that all pregnant mothers at the very earliest attend ante-natal classes for their own sake as well as that of their unborn babies – prevention of Mother to Child Transmission
• We provide Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses through immunization as well as Phila Mntwana initiatives

With the introduction of this Mobile Clinic for our Taxi Ranks, UMgungundlovu is now joining four others at eThekwini; Ugu; Amajuba and uMzinyathi Districts, we can now safely urge all men to come forward and join us as we say:

“Phila Ndoda, uvikele umndeni wakho,
“A healthy man, a healthy family”

I thank you.


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Copyright © KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, 2001

The material on this website may be copied for non-commercial use as long as our copyright notice and website address are included.
Copyright © KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, 2001

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