The Free State department of health will focus on refurbishing equipment at health centres in the province in order to improve efficiency and avoid spending large sums of money on fixing broken down equipment.
Treasury MEC Elzabe Rockman told journalists after presenting the 2016/17 provincial budget in Bloemfontein that the budget allocation for the department of health was increased by seven percent to R9.048 billion.
The total amount allocated to the department over the next three years is R29.165 billion. This means R9.687 billion will be spent by the department during the 2017/18 and a further R10.429 billion in 2018/19.
The money, according to Rockman, has been specifically made available for the procurement of medicines, clinical equipment and maintenance, among others.
“We have not maintained gas lines (pipes) in hospitals for many years,” said Rockman during a media briefing.
“We have realised that in other provinces where money was spent on maintenance, consumption of oxygen and other gases become much less. So, that is why we have decided to put more money into this and rehabilitate our equipment,” she explained.
The MEC said operations at the health department which had for several years been marred by poor administration and inefficiency were slowly improving and it was expected that the department could reach full potential in the near future.
“We can confidently state that we have achieved stability in the financial position of the health department. We have emerged from an extremely tumultuous period in our provincial health sector.
“Our progress is evident from the substantial reduction in accruals, overtime expenditure and the reprioritisation of funds towards frontline services in various health institutions including the provincial medical depot,” said Rockman.
She said while focusing on procurement and refurbishment of equipment, the objective was also to ensure the department of health is able to deliver on the key health outputs under the National Development Plan (NDP).
“Our spending in the health sector remains in line with the key outputs of the NDP, including: an increase in life expectancy; a decrease in maternal and child mortality; escalating the fight against HIV/AIDS and TB, and strengthening of health systems,” said Rockman.