President Zuma appraises Steve Biko Hospital and reaffirms Government’s commitment to provide quality healthcare to all citizens

President Jacob Zuma has given a positive appraisal of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria and reaffirmed government’s commitment to improve the country’s healthcare system to ensure that all citizens receive high-quality healthcare as one of government’s key priorities.

President Zuma undertook a successful visit to the hospital, one of the well-managed and best-performing public hospitals in the country today, 03 November 2017, in Pretoria to monitor the delivery of healthcare services as part of the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme.

The visit by President Zuma is part of the ongoing government monitoring programme that aims to address challenges facing public hospitals and to improve the healthcare system in the country.

“We came here to see for ourselves one of the good stories of our country. I am very impressed and was even surprised by the great work done in this hospital by our scientists and medical staff as well as the positive response from the patients. I am also very happy with the manner in which this public hospital operates and how it is managed. Its outstanding performance highlights government’s commitment to provide high-quality healthcare to our people,” said the President.

“This hospital is the one of the best performing public hospitals in the country and it is the pride of the nation. It continues to provide healthcare services of a specialised nature and of international standard to many communities not only in the Gauteng province but also beyond, even to our neighbouring countries in the region.

“The high-quality services that are provided by the Steve Biko Academic Hospital encourage our government to put extra efforts in advancing our healthcare system and ensure that all public hospitals and clinics provide a similar standard of services to improve the health of our people and ensure that they live longer and healthier lives,” said the President.

The hospital, which is named after the late liberation struggle hero and a former medical student at the then University of Natal, Mr Steve Bantu Biko, is a tertiary healthcare institution, rendering specialised and highly specialised services to medically referred patients.

President Zuma said amongst the high-quality healthcare services he had an opportunity to visit were the cancer wing which provides Oncology services such as radiation oncology and medical oncology services to patients, including the Paediatric Oncology. These are highly specialised and costly services that are efficiently sustained even with increased patient volumes and scarce of expertise. The wing also houses Mental Health services.

President Zuma was taken on a tour of Radiation Oncology services provided by the hospital, and shown the high technology machines such as Linear Accelerators that are utilised by a team of experts. The hospital currently has four of these machines and is in the process of acquiring a fifth one.

The President also visited the Cardiology services section of the hospital where interventional Cardiology is provided. The demand on these services is very high due to the scourge of non-communicable disease, the President was told.

He was also introduced to the hospital’s Reproductive Biology Services (infertility services) section, with services that assist reproduction for couples who wish for their own biological children. The services are offered in the most technologically advanced public service academic laboratories in Africa.

In the section, the President was taken through advance fertility services such as assisting HIV positive couples to give birth to HIV-free babies by using a semen decontamination procedure for the removal of HIV; the intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection technique to fertilize an oocyte/human egg; a time-lapse embryo culture system which allows remote viewing and morphokinetic selection of resulting embryos as well as an Internship Training Programme for medical biological scientists as Embryologists.

During his visit, President Zuma conducted a walkabout of other hospital departments including the Nuclear Medical Centre which provides the best evidence-based patient care utilizing the most advanced technological imaging equipment.

The President said the Nuclear Medicine is regarded as the best in the public sector in the country and in the African continent and the Nuclear Medicine in South Africa was conceived at the Centre.

The Centre is home to one of the top registrar programmes, PhD and fellowship programmes with a 100% pass rate. The outstanding diagnostic and therapeutic programmes are dedicated to providing the best in evidence-based patient care utilizing the most advanced imaging equipment available, ranging from single and dual head gamma cameras. The Centre also provides world-class modern care with a commitment to scholarship, discovery, education and outstanding patient care.

As part of his tour of the hospital, President Zuma also visited the hospital pharmacy which has an automated medical dispensary, which is the second one in the country and is also the biggest dispenser of a wide range of medicines with the capacity to dispense 120 prescriptions per hour.

“I was impressed by the high quality technology and services that the Steve Biko Academic Hospital is providing to our communities. As government we will ensure that these methods are shared with other public hospitals across the country to improve our overall public healthcare system.”

“It is the government’s responsibility to provide better and quality healthcare to those who cannot afford expensive healthcare services, therefore we are very happy with the achievements we saw at this hospital and this is a clear indication that we are moving in the right direction as a country in improving the lives of our people,” the President said.

In the last assessment on National Core of the Office of Health Standards Compliance in March 2015, the Steve Biko Hospital was declared the best well managed public hospital in the country and its overall score was 96 percent, the highest in the country, due to its remarkable performance and sound management.

Some of the notable medical achievements made by the hospital in the last ten years include the successful separation of Siamese twins in 2006 and in 2012; the successful re-attachment of the right arm of a two year old whose arm was ripped off in a taxi accident in 2006, helping previously deaf patients since 2009 to be able to hear by starting a Cochlear Implant service in the hospital.

The hospital attends to more than 483 624 patients in its specialist clinics annually, and admits more than 40 441 patients annually as in-patients and a gradual increase of Emergency Patients to 31 288 in 2016-2017 from 18 000 of 3 prior years.

The hospital also caters for patients from Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West provinces for a number of services including Radiotherapy, Medical Oncology, open heart surgery, cystic fibrosis, interventional cardiology and haemophilia services, as well as childhood kidney and cardiac services.

This academic hospital also contributes positively in the country’s medical studies as it provides a training platform to students from the University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology as well as the SG Lourens Nursing.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

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