#CoronavirusSA: District champions set to boost Gauteng’s flagging morale

#CoronavirusSA: District champions set to boost Gauteng’s flagging moraleScientists around the world are working on finding a Covid-19 vaccine. (Planeta América Latina/Flickr)

Ministers from national government have been allocated to various districts in Gauteng to support efforts to contain coronavirus’ spread.

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The Gauteng Command Council has put activities in place that are aimed at reducing the number of community infections in the province. One of these is the establishment of district champions who have been deployed to the five provincial districts.

These champions will be supported by cabinet ministers when they provide health screenings in the communities.

“We know that President Cyril Ramaphosa has deployed ministers and deputy ministers to our provinces and all the provinces. When we go on with this work, it will be led by these ministers. These teams will be leading all the ward-based teams in all the districts, doing the actual work in terms of screening, testing and all the healthcare screenings,” says Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku.

Masuku says that this will strengthen the work that the province has been doing to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic on a community level. In addition to having district champions, Masuku says that the announcement of a revised allocation of R5,9-billion will advance the fight against Covid-19.

“This will enable us to add more hospital beds, employ more staff and purchase more PPE [personal protective equipment]. Our health infrastructure remains on track to ensure that we have sufficient number of beds to care for those requiring hospitalisation,” he adds.

PPE red flags

PPE acquisition has been a controversial topic in the past few months. As the need for personal protective gear skyrocketed, so did allegations of corruption in the procurement process.

In a statement released by the MEC’s office, a forensic investigation was launched following a request by the MEC to have the Premier’s office investigate the identify certain red flags.

“The Premier subsequently requested the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) in May 2020 to investigate the matter. The Gauteng Department of Health is not in a position to make further comments as it relates to Covid-19 procurement, to avoid interference with the ongoing investigation by the SIU,” the statement reads.

Burden increases in province

As the province continues to see an upward trajectory in the numbers of Covid-19 cases that require hospitalisation, it has added 2 481 beds and will be providing an additional 5 220 more in the coming months.

There are currently 9 056 beds available in both private and public hospitals but addressing staff shortages is one of the top priorities being investigated by the province.

The MEC says that the province’s human resource capacity continues to increase.

“To date, we have appointed 994 health professionals comprising of 541 nurses, 118 doctors and 295 medical and support staff”.

At the time of writing, Gauteng has 148 854 confirmed positive Covid-19 cases with 77 397 recoveries and 1 187 deaths. Nearly 35% of the tests conducted nationally are from Gauteng

District champion schedule

From 27 July, teams of ministers, deputy ministers and MECs will join district champions as follows:

  • Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will be joined by Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and MEC for Social Development Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi in the City of Johannesburg.
  • Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan will be joined by MEC for Human Settlements and COGTA, Lebogang Maile and Tasneem Motara, the MEC for Infrastructure Development in the City of Tshwane.
  • In Ekurhuleni, Deputy Minister of State Security, Zizi Kodwa will join MEC for Finance, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko and Roads and Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo.
  • Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga will be in the Sedibeng District Municipality. She will be joined by Faith Mazibuko, the MEC for Community Safety, and MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlophe.
  • In the West Rand District Municipality, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Fikile Majola will be joined by MEC for Health Dr Bandile Masuku together with MEC for Economic Development, Morakane Masupyoe. – Health-e News