Keynote address by North West MEC for Health, Onewang R Kasienyane during the official opening of accident and emergency unit at Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital, Rustenburg
16 Oct 2009
Head of Department, Dr Lydia Sebego
Executive Mayor for Bojanala Platinum District Municipality
MMCs and Councilors of the District
Managers and officials of the department
Members of our governance structures
Distinguished guests and dignitaries
Ladies and gentlemen
We are gathered here today for a very important occasion which is to officially open the accident and emergency unit of Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital. This official opening happens with exactly 237 days remaining before our country hosts the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup tournament. As we all know, Rustenburg is one of the host cities and it is urgent that all facilities needed for 2010 are operational now and ready for expected demand.
This hospital is strategically situated just nearby to the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace which is a 2010 stadium. The proximity of this facility makes it very essential to FIFA requirements and thus under extreme inspection. In making sure that our province is ready, surely the FIFA delegation will want to know if emergency and trauma services are ready and up to the required standard. Health care services thus form one of the key priorities that FIFA expect us to meet its standards for the effective management of any mass casualties, particularly trauma related cases.
There is therefore urgent need to make this hospital the best and up to standard more so that this hospital is the only regional hospital that is serving the population in and around Bojanala District. Whilst we prepare for 2010, we are also obliged by our country’s health policy not to comprise health care service delivery to the general public of the district. The hospital must therefore be capacitated to cater for both the 2010 emergencies and the normal health care services to the people of the district.
Just to give you an idea of how much improvement we have made, this hospital’s initial casualty was handling around 300 motor vehicle accidents per month as well as 100 pedestrian vehicle accidents. The new unit is now completely revitalised at the costs of 30 million. This new state of the art accident and emergency unit is designed in such a way that it enhances the proper patient flow in and out of the unit. It is therefore designed in such away that it will make it possible to handle and manage mass casualties or increased demands of service due to outbreaks of diseases which is critical for 2010 preparations.
The unit has been renovated into a fully fledged accident and emergency unit that will be able to handle any eventualities that may be as a result of disaster or outbreaks. It is fully equipped with the latest state of the art health care technology that includes electronic access control doors, electronic and hydraulic resuscitation, genecology beds, complex patient monitors and advanced digital x-ray machine just to name a few.
Patients that will be brought here by ambulance are unconscious or require emergency attention will access the building through the emergency unit door where they will be moved straight into the resuscitation unit.
Family members of patients that are wheeled into resuscitation unit will be accommodated into the warm counselling room so that they are constantly briefed on the condition of their loved ones.
There are obviously some challenges that we need to overcome and we might have to devise some contingency plans where we do not have permanent solutions. I am saying this because we all know that the whole country particularly rural provinces like ours have been struggling with shortage of health professionals for sometime. While we have a long term human resource plan and a recruitment strategy that particularly targets scares skills, it is important that a comprehensive plan to service the 2010 World Cup be implemented urgently. We are confident as a province that we have a plan that will ensure that we achieve our objectives for 2010 particularly that of ensuring that health care services are rendered without any failure.
We have for example already done extremely well with our plan to recruit and train emergency personnel in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Our Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) College which is based in Stilfontein is the first to gain accreditation for offering Emergency Care Technicians (ECT) course and thus the first to implement a national programme aimed at improving the functioning of emergency services in the country. Emergency Care Technician which is a new advanced programme introduced by the national department to be implemented by EMRS colleges in the country has progressed well in our EMRS College thus far. This course covers among others HIV and AIDS counselling, emergency medical care, medical rescue (which include vehicle rescue, rope rescue and fire and search rescue). These are critical elements of the course that we believe will prepare our personnel for any eventualities during the 2010 festivities.
There are also important lessons and success factors that we got from the 2009 Confederation Cup. During the Confederation Cup, the department had put in place a fully equipped medical centre at the stadium, which among others included spectator centre, two spectator medical posts, VIP medical post and players’ medical centre. Emergency Medical Rescue Service (EMRS) satellite stations were established in all major routes leading to the host city. We established satellite services in conjunction with the South African Police Service. We also had an isolation unit here at Job Shimankane Tabane Hospital which was dedicated to the tournament in case of communicable and outbreak diseases. These arrangements worked for us and it is important that they are customised, improved on and strengthened further in preparation for the 2010 World Cup.
I am also pleased that as a province, we will have something to show as a legacy post 2010. This facility that we are officially opening here today will continue to serve our province and communities of Bojanala District post 2010. It is important that we look after the facility and not abuse it. In fact all our disaster, emergency medical rescue services and resources must be well looked after and not abused. I am saying this because as the department we often deal with cases of negligence and abuse of EMRS vehicles by not only EMRS personnel themselves but our communities as well. EMRS vehicles are meant for emergencies and nothing else. Similarly, this trauma and emergency unit is means for nothing else but trauma, accidents and emergencies. Let us share the responsibility of making this unit a success story.
I thank you.
Issued by: North West Health
16 Oct 2009
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