MEC for Health Maruping Lekwene has officially opened the newly refurbished records room and paediatric ward at the Galeshewe Day Hospital.
THE NORTHERN Cape MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, officially opened the newly refurbished records room and paediatric ward at the Galeshewe Day Hospital (GDH) on Monday.
The new and innovative document and records management system is an integrated system that makes use of combined technologies. It is fully equipped with a biometric system, intercom and spacious filing cabinets, which can be expanded.
The department has been working with Bigen Africa as a strategic partner on the initiative.
The introduction of the new electronic system comes after a public outcry over the last couple of years regarding the “inefficient” old filing system at GDH, which saw patient information and records being lost.
The hospital also suffered a huge setback when the paediatric ward and the administration section were gutted by fire in 2017.
Lekwene highlighted that the upgrade to a digital system will allow patients to get better and quicker services.
The MEC added that it will also reduce the pressure on neighbouring health facilities that have had to carry an extra burden following the fire at GDH.
He also pointed out that the limited services at GDH have been impacting negatively as patients have had to seek medical assistance at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital, which is a tertiary hospital.
Lekwene admitted that most health facilities in the Province have been experiencing challenges with regards to their filing systems.
“I have recently travelled throughout the Province and I have witnessed how our records are lying on the ground and not properly filed. Our records system is in a bad state, where the loss of important patient information has been at stake,” said Lekwene.
“Our facilities in the Province are not in good shape as most of them are old. The new digitised record room is therefore highly welcomed.
“We will no longer see rooms with lots of paper. All patient records will be accessed from time to time in the system.
“We want to roll out the system throughout the Province,” added Lekwene.
The MEC also pointed out that the opening of the new paediatric section is a massive boon to the local community.
Lekwene acknowledged that resources were scarce in the health sector.
“In our Province it is even worse. We are the biggest province but highly underdeveloped.
“In health there is a tendency where we like to complain at times. Health is a department that is besieged with lots of challenges and problems.”
Lekwene urged health officials in the Province to “stop complaining” and rather work towards improving conditions and “turning the tide” in the interest of the people.
He urged them to “do the best with the little they have”.
“Some of us are privileged to be employed in this sector. If I, as a MEC, complain, what about the ordinary people down there who are unemployed. We must come up with efforts and interventions on how to remedy situations. If we continue to complain, we will never save lives.
“Our budget in health is R5.5 billion, with R1.5 billion being the grant of the department. Our equitable share budget is R4 billion. Our salaries for those working in health is R3.3 billion. We are left with R700 million to do everything.”
Lekwene added, however, that the department is also seeking intervention measures and has engaged the National Treasury, which has promised to look into the matter.
The MEC noted that Covid-19 has “exposed” the health sector countrywide.
He said the Northern Cape only received an amount of R12.1 million out of the national budget of R8 billion to reinforce its fight against Covid-19.
He pointed out that leaders are “bestowed with high titles” in order to find solutions during such challenges. “We have to show whether we are clever or not. We can’t complain.”
Lekwene also noted that most of the infrastructure in the Province is old and not well maintained.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have the capacity, but since Covid-19 we say ‘thank you’ to the Cubans who sent some specialists to assist us in that regard – servicing some of the equipment and increasing our capacity in the health sector.”