THE recent report by Statistics SA emanating from last year’s General Household Survey offers welcome respite for Gauteng’s public health system. At the same time, results of this study table some of the hurdles the province still has to negotiate to attain a world-class and seamless health system that will benefit all the residents of Gauteng.
According to the research, 67,4% of respondents in the province said they were very satisfied with the services provided to them during their most recent visit to health facilities and 19,6% said they were somewhat satisfied. Just more than 7% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
If we consider the recent measures taken in the province to speed up service delivery in the public health sector, the results in the near future may be rosier than just more than 5% of our residents not enjoying the experience of a better healthcare system.
Furthermore, there has been a 15% drop in the incidence of chronic illness in the period under review. Some of the chronic illnesses that have shown a marked downward trend are asthma, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, high blood pressure and arthritis.
The sizeable drop in numbers can, according to the report, be attributed to the increase in the number of people who consulted public and private health institutions.
Predictably, the study has also found the province has the highest percentage of people covered by medical aid, accounting for just more than 26% nationally. The Gauteng City Region Observatory’s interpretation of the national information shows that, of the more than 2,8-million people covered in the province, only 38% were blacks, with whites accounting for almost half of the total.
While the scourge of HIV/ AIDS remains one of the biggest public health headaches for the provincial government, the latest figures show that high blood pressure is fast gaining a notorious reputation as a major health concern in Gauteng.
Motloung is Head of Communication in the Gauteng government.
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