Good news from the North West

The North West Province has been in the news for a number of reasons this year, not all of them good.

Bearing that in mind, I was heartened to be present when Monwabisi Goqwana, Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Health reported back on the Committee’s oversight visit to the province.

According to Goqwana, the five day visit clearly showed that the National Health Insurance pilot project in the province was working well. He admitted that some of the hospitals they visited faced the challenge of shortages of medical staff and equipment, but that the province had made great progress, especially when compared with other provinces they had visited last year.

The committee visited about five hospitals, including the Dr Kenneth Kaunda Hospital, where most of the refurbishment using the grant took place. The Dr Kenneth Kaunda pilot district in North West was one of only four of the 10 NHI pilot districts in the country that had appointed NHI project managers by the end of the first piloting year in March. It had also managed to fill all seven posts on district clinical specialists’ teams.

But it was not all good news: the overall score of its inspected primary healthcare facilities this year was 47 percent and the district had only refurbished two out of five major hospitals.

I always appreciate the chance to attend the Portfolio Committee meetings and to get the inside track of what is happening as NHI becomes a reality in our country. Even when the good news is tempered with bad, as it was in this instance, it is still encouraging to see that we are consistently moving in the right direction.

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