World Health Day is commemorated annually on 07 April. On this day the whole world focuses attention on a specific health topic of concern to peo-ple all over the world. The focus for 2017 World Health Day is de-pression, the slogan being Depression : Let's talk. As the whole world places mental health under the spotlight on this World Health Day, the Department of Health recognises the fact that many people suffering from de-pression, suffer in silence for fear of being stigmatised and discriminated against if they say that they are depressed and if they seek treatment. This theme encourages all of us to talk op-enly about depression. Those of us who are feeling depressed are encouraged to talk to others about how we are feeling and to share our sadness or the difficulties we are having with others. Talking about one's pro-blems and feelings is an important way of re-lieving oneself of symptoms of depression. The department encourages all South Africans, including the public sector, civil so-ciety, communities, the media, religious groups, educational institutions, workpla-ces, households and other groups and indi-viduals to talk openly about depression. In doing so, we will all become far more aware of depression, the signs and symptoms and how common it is and together we will over-come the stigma and myths that are often associated with depression and other men-tal illnesses which often lead to people not coming forward and seeking help. Those who are already suffering from de-pression should be given the necessary support. We urge those that are feeling de-pressed to talk to others about their feelings and to seek help. We encourage family members and friends to listen very carefully, support the person who is depressed and assist him or her to get help if he or she needs more than you can give them. Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life and impacts on people's abili-ty to carry out even the simplest daily tasks with sometimes devastating consequences in family relations, child rearing, adherence to medication and other important aspects of life. Common signs of depression include per-sistent sadness and loss of interest in ac-tivities that you normally enjoy - for at least two weeks. In addition people with depres-sion have several of the following symptoms : loss of energy, change in appetite, sleeping more or less, reduced concentration, feeling anxious, feeling worthless, inability to take even simple decisions, guilt and hopeless-ness. At worst, depression can lead to sui-cide. While South Africa has a limited number of mental health professionals such as psy-chiatrists and psychologists, especially in the public sector, and this is something that needs to be improved together with increas-ing other health personnel, we do provide assistance to people with mental health pro-blems at all levels of the health system, in-cluding at primary health care level. At the same time, we appreciate the work that is done by non-governmental organisa-tions, in supporting people with depression and other mental health problems. As the world observes this important day under this important theme, the department pledges to continue to strengthen and in-crease access to quality mental health ser-vices and improve its efforts of educating the public about early signs of depression and other mental illness so that those affected could talk to others around them and seek help where required. Department of Health
A two-day conference was held at Thebephatswa Motel on the outskirts of Kuruman by the John Taolo Gaetsewe Business Forum on April 8 & 9, 2017.
The fourth conference of the forum had a lot to digest in as far as ex-ploring ways to harness business opportunities that have arisen in the region with the advent of big projects brought about by the Kathu Solar Park and Kgalagadi Pipeline Joint Venture.
In an interview with the forum's chairperson Mr Arthur Mosimane on sidelines of the meeting he said that there is a lot at stake for local entre-preneurs and what is important is to embrace one another in all spheres of business.
“We are reorganising our forum, carrying a clear mandate to benefit not only members, but the entire lo-cal business people in the district. We came here to cluster ourselves according to our business interests so that everyone benefits in the economy of the district.
“Apart from being a forum we still have an inclusive approach where non-members are brought into the mainstream dividends that exist in the district and we share these libe-rally with them.
“In our struggles for empowerment we discourage possessiveness as a forum, because not all locals can become members for various rea-sons, but certainly these too need to survive like any member of society”.
Since the forum was revitalised four years back, the chairperson ela-borated, remarkable strides have been achieved and continue in that direction.
Different stakeholders had been invited that included mayors, munici-pal managers and local economic development managers to witness the recovery and the orderliness within the forum while exchanging ideas and strengthening relations for the benefit of local entrepreneurs.
The final words from Mr Mosimane were, that while its membership has catapulted to about 250, the doors will remain open for new entrants to galvanise the intentions of the region and to share in the one voice of the plight of the forum to benefit from the resplendent business opportunities in the region.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is concerned about the Northern Cape Health Department's lack of urgency to operationalise 38 ambulances, 10 patient transporters and five obstetric ambulances that were bought and delivered in 2015.
According to Isak Fritz, Member of the Provincial Legislation and the DA Northern Cape Spokesperson on Health, the vehicles, that still need to be converted and fitted with the necessary medical equipment, have been gathering dust for the past two years, while Emergency Medical Services struggle to achieve adequate emergency response times due to a shortage of vehicles.
Quarterly reports have noted a decline in calls in urban areas within the required 15-minute time frame as a direct result of a decline in operational vehicles. This lack of operational vehicles has been further aggravated by the high accident rate of ambulances in the Northern Cape.
The lack of specialized obstetric ambulances further contributes to the high maternal and neonatal death rates in the province.
Following a briefing by the Health Department on Tuesday 28 March 2017, it came to light that the conversion process was delayed after corruption had been uncovered in the tender process. According to the department, a contract was entered into by the department for the conversion of ambulances, even though the conversion process had never been put out on tender.
The department indicated that they are now following proper processes and that progress is being made towards converting the vehicles.
The DA appreciates the department's honesty and the fact that they have regularized the contract. However, the DA remains concerned by the health department’s nonchalant attitude towards such high scale corruption that is literally robbing sick people of medical care.
The DA is of the view that the operationalisation of the stagnating emergency vehicles must be prioritized for the sake of all the people in the province who are dependent on ambulance services to receive life-saving health care.
The DA further believes that the corrupt officials, who tried to broker deals for the conversion of ambulances for their own benefit at the cost of service delivery, must be criminally dealt with.
The DA will continue to monitor the matter and probe the department regarding the disciplinary steps that have been taken against those whose selfish actions have inhibited the efficient functioning of emergency services in the Northern Cape.
SALGA Northern Cape is a provincial structure of SALGA which is run by the management and the executive committee. The Provincial Executive Officer (PEO) serves as the head of administration of the office. The purpose of the office of the PEO is to lead and manage the Northern Cape Provincial Office so that an effective service is provided within the SALGA mandate to local government in the province, whilst their specific needs and require-ments are understood and repre-sented at national level.
It is also responsible for the execu-tion of SALGA's mandate in the en-tire Northern Cape Province.
the PEC of SALGA in the Northern Cape converged at the Gamagara local municipality’s new hall to discuss challenges faced by the local municipalities.
Some of the issues that were out-lined, incorporated the organisa-tional performance and strategic plan for the next five-year period and provincial flagship projects, a new communication platform for coun-cillors and constituencies and wea-ther trends of the Northern Cape and recommended disaster manage-ment strategies.
The other pointer that was given attention by Mr Lance Joel from SALGA nationally, was the issue of planned support to municipalities, debt owed to Eskom, debt owed by provincial departments to municipa-lities.The two-day function was attend-ed by political and administrative leadership from all 31 member muni-cipalities in the Northern Cape. Media houses were granted the opportunity to network with dele-gates, including municipal and gov-ernment communicators.
Yet another effort has been made to ensure that the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) could be contained in the country.
New medication called Delamanid has been put on trial to some selected centres in the country.
The new medicine by a Japanese compa-ny called Otsuka, yet to be registered, has the potential to be the dependable regimen in the fight against the virulent disease.
South Africa continues to rank the highest in the world with patients suffering from drug resistant tuberculosis, a real challenge stemming from late diagnosis, adherence failure to taking drugs accordingly and err-atic control methods.
It is estimated that close to 20 000 people get infected by MDR-TB each year and the cure rate in South Africa is about 50%. This means one in two patients will die.
The new treatment will hopefully save more lives. Delamanid has fewer side-effects and is more effective than current medications. Current MDR-TB drugs are 50 years old and have terrible side-effects‚ including deafness.
The pharmaceutical company said that Delaminid works well in HIV-positive pa-tients and is fine for diabetics who are at a three-fold risk of getting tuberculosis. HIV-positive individuals are 10 times more likely to contract TB.
The term drug-resistant TB, or DR-TB is used to describe those strains of TB which show resistance to one or more of the com-mon first-line drugs. Patients infected with strains of TB that are resistant to (at least) the two most powerful first-line antibiotics used to treat TB, namely rifampicin and isoniazid, are said to have multidrug-resis-tant TB, or MDR-TB.
Patients who have MDR-TB and also show resistance to second-line drugs, including at least one from the class known as fluoroquinolones and one of the inject-able drugs, are described as suffering from extensively drug-resistant TB or XDR-TB.
All forms of resistance to more than one of the first-line antibiotics and which is neither MDR- nor XDR-TB are defined as polydrug-resistant TB, or PDR-T.
The Northern Cape province on Mon-day 27 March 2017 hosted a Pro-vincial TB Indaba.
The two day indaba hosted at the Full Gospel Church in Upington, was attended by different stakeholders with the majority of them being from the health sector, including representation from the traditional healers.
World TB Day is celebrated yearly on 24 March and the 2017 theme was “Unite to end TB and HIV : South African leaders taking action”.
The two day gathering was open by the MEC for Social Development in the provin-ce Gift Van Staden presented the message on behalf of the Premier who could not at-tend.
The MECs for the Departments of Health - Lebogang Motlhaping, for Rural Develop-ment and Agriculture - Norman Shushu and of Transport, Safety & Liason - Pauline Wil-liams, also attended the indaba.
Mr Van Staden said that the National World TB Day 2017 will be hosted in Man-gaung in the Free State province. He said that the event will be used to, amongst other things, launch the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs 2017 - 2022. This is the fourth successive strategic plan that the country has development to deal with the HIV&AIDS epidemic. The strategy is a result of a broad consultative process between government, private sector and civil society, proving once again that the HIV/AIDS compact is alive and functional in South Africa, Mr Van Staden said.
The country has the largest treatment program in the world with 2-million people on anti-retroviral treatment and has con-ducted the largest HIV testing campaign in the world that has reached more than 20-million South Africans.
Mr Van Staden said “We are however commemorating this event fully aware of the numerous challenges posed by the TB epidemic in our country. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) TB incidence has increased by 400% in South Africa in the past fifteen years. This is mainly attributed to the increase of HIV incidence.”
The question of leadership in dealing with the epidemics was expected to be high on the agenda of the indaba, however the lack of leadership was lamented by Mr Van Staden, but focussed not only on political leadership, but also church leadership, labour, private sector, traditional, youth and women leadership. It was important that all spheres of society must join hands to reinvigorate the responses to the epidemics again, he said.
Mr Van Staden said that the immediate tasks must include cure rate improvement; reducing the TB mortality rate; reducing HIV-TB co-infection; reducing follow up losses and reducing the defaulter rate. He requested the indaba to emerge with con-crete plans around these outcomes.
The program outline saw different stake-holders forming part of the indaba breaking into commissions to discuss a wide array of topics that culminated into recommen-dations to the Provincial Council on AIDS.
Leaders from multi-sectoral organisations were requested to ensure that all recom-mendations are implemented to ensure a meaningful impact in the fight against TB, HIV and STIs. TB is curable, but patients must ensure that they take their medication for the full term of treatment.
The Kgatelopele Asbestos Community took charge of the John Taolo Gaetsewe district municipality leaving employees standing akimbo and later dismissing.
The disenchanted ex-miners took a more rigorous step on March 9, 2017 by taking themselves hostage for the second time at the John Taolo Gaetsewe district municipality. The decision to besiege the municipality was reached after the municipal authorities took the organization lightly in its quest to facilitate the coming of the Premier Sylvia Lucas and Advocate Richard Spoor - the contentious man believed to be with-holding several millions in rand as compensation money for the asbestos ex-mine workers.
The ex-miners want the Executive Mayor Ms. Sofia Mosikatsi to be pro-active in the facilitation process where the premier can summon the elusive advocate to release their compensation money.
On January 27, 2017 only the committee detained itself for two days and nights at the municipal premises after a botched at-tempt to meet the executive mayor. They eventually met the mayor on January 30, 2017 at the council chambers where they gave her a seven-day ultimatum to invite the premier.
According to ex-miners, the request was never relayed to the premier, hence the latest blockade of municipal workers at the premises by more than seventy members of the Kgatelopele Asbestos Community.
The group slept at the municipal premises and discharged all workers until the mayor and entourage made an impromptu arrangement with the premier to come and resolve the long-standing impasse.
The decisive spokesperson of the organization, Mr. Thabang Selo, said that all along they have been taken for a ride, hence everyone has taken a rigid stance to ensure the matter is settled.
The ex-miners left the following day after confirmation that the premier will come and attend their problem on March 13, 2017.
The ex-miners alleged that during their self-styled hostage they had to drink water from the toilets as taps had been closed by the local authority.