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Sunday Times-South Africa
Ministries to assist with health
Harriet Mclea
October 21, 2010
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi will today sign an agreement with eight other government ministers who he expects to help him tackle the country's health crisis.

The agreement states that improving health in South Africa "is a responsibility that cuts across a number of sectors".

Ministers of higher and basic education, water affairs, social development, agriculture, rural development, correctional services and public service are seen as "critical partners" who will sign the agreement with Motsoaledi's provincial health ministers.

The higher education ministry is expected to train more doctors and particularly nurses.

Water Affairs will have to commit to provide clean water to prevent water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid, while Correctional Services is expected to implement HIV/Aids and TB programmes in prisons, while Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will have to improve food security.

Motsoaledi needs all the help he can get to achieve outcome number two - a "long and healthy life for all" - of the cabinet's Programme of Action signed in July.

The most recent statistics show that the number of deaths in South Africa doubled in 10 years, from 317131 in 1997 to 612462 in 2006.

Motsoaledi's Negotiated Service Delivery Agreement narrows the health minister's original Ten Point Plan of key priorities down to four health outputs:

* Increasing life expectancy.

* Decreasing maternal and child mortality.

* Combating HIV and Aids and decreasing the burden of diseases from tuberculosis.

* Strengthening health system effectiveness.

The agreement includes annual targets for the next four years.