Injecting hope

Free healthcare can exist

High quality health services
High quality health services
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has praised the development of the newly launched Shandukani Maternal and Child Health Centre in Hillbrow, which focuses on antenatal, post-natal and mother and childcare services.

The centre was funded by cellular provider Vodacom, telecommunications provider Altech and information technology company Altron. This R28-million injection was just what the doctor ordered, in order to develop the health centre. The development was successfully completed with the support of the University of the Witwatersrand.

The centre provides free-of-charge, high-quality health services to mothers and their children in the impoverished and densely populated Hillbrow district of Johannesburg. More than 30 babies a day have been born under the facility’s roof since the end of June 2012.

This may be a step in the right direction for our healthcare facilities but South Africa is the only country not at war where the mother and child mortality rate is increasing. 

The Shandukani Centre was developed using high-technology systems underlined by the concept of comprehensive and integrated health services. As could be found within most top healthcare facilities, it boasts a number consulting rooms, delivery rooms and has a pharmacy. On the upper level, they have a research department researching pharmaceuticals dosage regimens for infants and adolescents.

Services are aimed specifically at providing expert and comprehensive services to vulnerable mothers and children. For example, the services include family planning services, which Motsoaledi highlighted as critical to achieve South Africa’s millennium development goals (MDGs) as agreed to under the United Nations.

Family planning can help to reduce mother and child mortality owing to fewer unwanted pregnancies and risky abortions, better advice to prospective families and reducing poverty by creating supportive familial structures.

“We cannot reduce the number of abortions and mother and child mortality without family planning, and without it we will likely find our MDGs, specifically [goals] 4 and 5, difficult to achieve.

“Family planning reduces poverty. It is critical for development, and it is necessary and similar to vaccinations [that prevent future illness].”
“We [the national Department of Health] may copy the success here at the Shandukani Centre and replicate it over the whole country,” he concluded.
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Issue 16


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