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Health Research Could Help NHI: Tsiu

The Free State MEC for health Montseng Tsiu has encouraged local scientists and medical practitioners to continuously conduct researches in the field in order to ensure the country is able to provide quality healthcare for everyone when it introduces the National Health Insurance (NHI).

She said well researched studies in the field of health will make it easier for government to understand the challenges faced by people and be able to come up with the right interventions.

Tsiu said this when she addressed the 8th Annual Health Research Day at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein yesterday.

“In the spirit of Universal Health Coverage, we have to level the playing field for quality health care through well researched interventions,” noted Tsiu.

“We need to understand the demographics and epidemiology of our communities. We need to have sound planning and resource allocation informed by credible and reliable data.We need to improve the quality of health care delivery by focusing on our priority programmes.

“We also need to address the causes of mortality towards a sustainable healthy nation. We are aware that the Free State is one of the main contributors towards the high rates of infant, child and maternal mortalities in the country. Something must be done in order to ameliorate this situation. The success or failure of NHI is in our hands, we are the architects of our destination,” she added.

The MEC applauded the UFS medical school and social scientists who are currently working with the provincial health department on different studies and have attracted funding from some of the leading institutions in the world.

Some of  the studies include: Practical Approach to Lung Health in South Africa; Shifting of Antiretroviral Treatment from Doctors to Primary Health Care Nurses in South Africa; Improving Prevention and Care of TB and HIV in Healthcare Workers and Integrating Mental Health into Chronic Care into the District Mental Healthcare Plans.

“Given the information interactions and the experiences I had, there are no people better placed to take us to where we want to be other than yourselves. We should under no circumstances undermine our ability to transform health services in this province.

“If we can be able to demonstrate the aforementioned achievements, I believe we are able to add value to our already adorable work we have done so far. We are mindful of the fact that knowledge has no limits, but the ability to have logic and make sense makes it more interesting and adorable,” noted Tsiu.

She added: “Our ideal is to make abstract complex health issues to be understood in the most simplistic and less complex language. This will help ordinary citizens to take ownership of their health and prevent diseases from happening. We are in pursuit.”

She also expressed concern that curable diseases such as Tuberculosis remain a problem amidst all the knowledge and resources available in the country.

“I must admit that social determinants on health have an impact on the prevalence of the quadruple burden of diseases. I am also of the opinion that we have what it takes to tackle the diseases burden head on… TB was declared an emergency and focus was on ending the emergency through science, leadership and action. The introduction of drugs such as bedaquiline which helps the patient’s to fast track their sputum to convert within six weeks, has been applauded by the world.

We as a country have demonstrated the desire to eliminate TB. However, we need to consolidate our efforts and strengthen our multi-sectoral approach. TB can be cured and I see it as one of the low hanging fruits that can be achieved,” the MEC explained confidently.

By: Martin Makoni