KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, recently visited Amajuba District to take stock of the progress made in the NHI pilot and to announce new eHealth undertakings.

During the visit, Dr Dhlomo unveiled a mobile hospital that will dock weekly in four selected rural communities of the district. The high tech mobile hospital has an X-Ray machine that can connect to hospitals through telemedicine, optometry equipment for eye screening, dentist facilities as well as a Primary Health Care domain where all illnesses are attended to.

“We are very satisfied and proud of the progress made in preparing this district as a pilot for NHI and are certain that other districts can now come and learn from what we have achieved,” said Dr Dhlomo.

Innovations involving free SMS messages to pregnant women and people on ARV programmes were also announced. The messages will remind patients of upcoming clinic appointments.

Dr Dhlomo reviewed the R210 million Infrastructure Capital Projects that have been carried out in the district since 2009. These include a new Dannhauser Community Health Centre that offers maternal services on a 24 hour basis in an outlying farming area. It also includes five new clinics in the rural areas of Ingogo, Charlestown, Viedrit and Mdakane.

Dr Dhlomo congratulated the district for successfully implementing an efficient pathway for chronic patients to collect their medication at their doorsteps in facilities such as churches.

As part of NHI requirements, Dr Dhlomo introduced 12 School Health Teams that visit Grade 1 learners in 98 schools screening common health challenges that impact on learning.

Dr Dhlomo also announced the appointment of District Specialist Teams that included an Advanced Midwife and Primary Health Care Nurses provided to ensure that women don’t die whilst giving birth.

KZN was allocated two districts as NHI pilot sites – UMgungundlovu and Umzinyathi – but then requested to add a third one, Amajuba District, by committing to pay for its pilot exercise. Amajuba was chosen because of the belief that it’s bound to yield quick results in terms of readiness for the actual implementation of NHI, as it’s both rural and urban in its setting and also has adequate healthcare facilities for its population.

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