Kwazulu-Natal Legislature Pietermaritzburg: Thursday, 29 July 2010
At the outset, I wish to express our appreciation
of the MEC’s commitment to the fight against disease as well as his
openness in sharing information about the progress of government
initiatives in this regard. This is a refreshing sight in view of
the ambiguity and secrecy of the ANC provincial administration
during the previous term of government.
As a medical doctor, I cannot overemphasise the
importance of prevention when it comes to the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Quite rightly, the prevention programmes piloted by the government
are multi-pronged ranging from the use of condoms to male
One concern that I wish to share about the latter
is the danger that male circumcision, as useful as it is, could
overtake all other forms of prevention, some of which, like the use
of condoms, have been proven to be more efficient and cheaper. It is
our hope that the government’s focus on male circumcision will not
turn into an obsession to the exclusion of all other forms of
prevention – very much like the government’s denial of the extent
and consequences of the HIV/Aids pandemic in the recent past.
The government drive to expand HIV testing and
link it to the roll out of anti-retroviral therapy needs to be
singularly applauded. The advances in medical science and the
availability of new techniques are receiving adequate attention from
the provincial Department of Health and are being translated into
policy as swiftly as our resources – both human and financial –
We appreciate the attention the MEC is paying to
the skills shortages in his department as well as the ever present
plague of corruption in the ranks of officials which threatens to
wipe out the department’s achievements in the fight against disease.
I am afraid there is no shortcut to the filling of critical
vacancies. The past closure of some nursing colleges by the
government, citing 'funding' as a reason, did not assist in the
production of nurses.
The MEC’s last contribution relates to the
redeployment of hospital CEOs. The main criticism of this measure
was not limited to the redeployment of urban-based managers to rural
areas. In some instances, such as the appointment of former rector
of the University of Zululand, Professor Rachel Gumbi to the
managing post of the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi,
the new managers have been exposed as lacking effective
administrative credentials. We hope the MEC will learn from these
mistakes in the future.
I thank you.
Contact: Dr Bonginkosi Buthelezi, 082 516 0156