I mproving the delivery of healthcare services in Limpopo
is a commitment that Dr Phophi Ramathuba is whole-heartedly dedicated to.
When she was appointed as the MEC of Health in 2015, her fi rst task was to develop a turnaround strategy
to address four main areas that affected the provision of healthcare services to Limpopo residents. In an interview with PSM,
Dr Ramathuba refl ected on some of the successes achieved since then. Her focus has been on human resources, fi nancial management, infrastructure and service delivery in order to improve the department’s work.
Dr Ramathuba was already familiar with challenges affecting the health sector and the province as she had previously worked as a clinician, Limpopo
facility manager and health activist prior to occupying the hot seat as MEC.
Human resources The MEC used the turnaround strategy to restructure human resource systems and this resulted in the reduction of senior executive posts to
focus on employing more offi cials that were at the coalface of service delivery,
as well as ensuring that vacant posts were fi lled.
“That has resulted in stability at our head offi ce and district offi ces.
A number of chief executive offi cer and clinical manager positions are now fi lled and by the end of this fi nancial year all positions will be fi lled,” she said.
The department has also appointed 26 medical specialists, 269 medical doctors
and 639 professional nurses to ensure that quality healthcare services are delivered to residents.
To further reinforce a professional health workforce, the MEC plans to recruit an additional 36 medical specialists,
11 heads of clinical units, three heads of clinical department, 200 medical doctors and 250 professional nurses.
The department has also appointed a number of young sub-specialties such as the fi rst black paediatric oncologist in the country, who is stationed in Polokwane,
and the only nephrologist (a physician who deals with the diagnosis and management of kidney disease) in the province.
“This has assisted us in strengthening our training platform for medical students,” the MEC said.
“We have also trained emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to become advanced life supporters,” she added.
Improved financial management Finances usually reflect how well a department is doing and this is why MEC Ramathuba listed financial management among the key focus areas of her turnaround strategy.
She said the department has managed to reduce unauthorised expenditure from R220 000 to R10 000 per annum.
Fruitless and wasteful expenditure decreased from R160 000 to less than R17 000 per year and irregular expenditure from R259 000 to R45 000 per year.
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