Gauteng improves health care, educational services

By – SAnews.gov.za

Pretoria – The Gauteng Provincial Government says it is improving its efforts towards achieving quality public education and health care.

The provincial government on Tuesday said the distinct feature of the current administration is radical social and economic transformation.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Tuesday released the Gauteng Midterm Report at the Wits School of Business in Johannesburg.

The report noted that access to early childhood development is now at 95%, fast approaching universal access, while the primary school attendance rate is at 95% and secondary school attendance rate is at 92%.

“The number of learners in public basic education has almost doubled, from about 1.3 million learners in 1994 to almost 2.3 million in 2016.

“Pro-poor policies have made it possible for 1.4 million learners from poor families to have access to meals every day though school nutrition; 1.2 million to have access to education through the no-fee school policy and another 100 000 learners have access to scholar transport,” Premier Makhura said.

Gauteng continues to be among the top three best performing provinces in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, contributing approximately 23% of all bachelor passes and about 22% of distinctions in the country.

Gauteng performed better than all provinces in the 2016 report on Trends in International Mathematics and Science benchmarking study (TIMSS).

“But the continuing mismatch between the education system and the skills required by key sectors of industry is leading to many skills development initiatives that seek to respond to the skills gap, as we have learnt from business in our engagements with them across the province. We have since established schools of specialization to curb this problem,” said Premier Makhura.

Healthcare

The Gauteng Midterm Report shows that life expectancy has increased by an average of six years, from 57.7 years between 2001 and 2006, to 63.6 years between 2011 and 2016.

The report shows that progress has been made to reduce the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission, from over 8% in 2011 to less than 2% in 2016.

In an effort to improve the quality of primary health care, government enrolled 165 clinics as part of the National Ideal Clinic programme. Gauteng obtained the highest average score on ideal clinics, with 78% by the end of 2016 against a national average of 69.2%.

An ideal clinic must open on time, be clean, be staffed by health professionals that practice the values of Batho Pele and not close until the last patient has been attended to. The provincial government said three hospitals are currently under construction and an additional five hospitals are currently undergoing revitalisation.

“Despite all this, the public healthcare systems is not so healthy itself. This story is best told by the Esidimeni mental health tragedy, which also highlighted institutional challenges with regard to lack of patient focus, major funding problems, staffing and infrastructure inadequacies. This necessitates a major overhaul, which will be our major focus over the next two years,” said Premier Makhura.