Integrated Approach Needed to Address Potential Gapes
World Vision South Africa (WVSA) acknowledges the positive elements contained within the Minister of Finance, Mr. Pravin Gordhan’s Budget Speech 2011. The Budget focused on Government developing and improving rural development and better local community services. The budget emphasises job creation and providing adequate and efficient access to health services and education.
The South African Government’s National Budget Fiscal Year 2011/12 and beyond is going to be an especially busy time for the Department of Health (DoH) and Treasury as the National Health Insurance (NHI) is introduced. It is not a question of whether it will be implemented, but when, how and with whose resources. The introduction of this reality is being primed by improving primary health care services, which are at the root of our health system and in need of fundamental restructuring and resourcing. There will be focus on preventing people from getting sick which will be delivered by the establishment of family health teams, made up of nurses, doctors and community health workers who will look after families in facilities and communities. Another component towards the new NHI is new infrastructure grants that will be used to build and maintain health facilities.
Other areas of focus in the health budget are efforts to fight HIV & AIDS through increased HIV counselling and testing, and extending the threshold for people to receive antiretroviral (ARV) medicine which will substantially increase the number on treatment to 2.6 million by 2013/14. Given the relatively high and increasing numbers of maternal and child deaths, further funding to train 400 nurses and midwives is welcomed, but does not mean that South Africa will necessarily be able to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 & 5 targets. Though improving health services at schools and services in mother and child hospital wards at district hospitals is welcomed, greater emphasis on community empowerment and training on health matters would go a longer way to achieving better health outcomes.
In this regard, WVSA has launched its national Child Health Now campaign in October last year, that advocates for improvements in maternal and child health. This campaign is backed by specific training models which World Vision has tested extensively globally. Some of these models include prevention, and care and support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and People Living With HIV & AIDS (PLWHA), Organisational Capacity Building for community based organisations, and 7-11, which includes the 7 essential elements for expecting mothers and 11 elements for 0-2 year olds. WVSA is already partnering with the DoH at national, provincial and district levels as well as with NGOs and the corporate sector, so that as a country we can achieve a longer and healthier life for all its people.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
National Director and CEO
World Vision South Africa