The Standerton TB hospital in Mpumalanga’s Gert Sibande District could possibly be relocated to other premises in the province where it will be better used.
After years of renting the current building in which the hospital is situated, Health MEC Gillion Mashego said the move would see the hospital relocated to better buildings that are owned by government.
The move would also see the hospital move from being under the Lekwa Local Municipality in Standerton to the Mbhejeka Community Health Centre (CHC) near Tjakastad, which is under Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality.
Mashego is considering the move after finding out that the community health centre was under-utilised
The state of the art Community Health Centre in the Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality was constructed during 2010/11 financial year. It is a well-built centre and would be ideal for TB services.
After visiting the centre MEC Mashego instructed senior managers in the department to come up with a strategy that will ensure that the community health centre is effectively utilized. The Department has since recommended to the MEC that Standerton TB Hospital be moved to Mbhejeka CHC.
The Standerton TB Specialised Hospital has 150 beds with a bed utilisation rate of 20%.
Some of the challenges at the Standerton TB Hospital include the fact that the Health Department doesn’t own the property. The structure in which it is situated has been rented from the South African National TB Association (SANTA) for R115 000 per month, amounting to an annual expense of almost R1.2 million.
SANTA has not been renovating or maintaining the building which now no longer complies with the National Core Standards set by government.
Plans and designs
The Mpumalanga Health Department plans to start with the plans and designs for the Mbhejeka Community Health Centre in the current financial year of 2017/18 so that it complies with all requirements and is set to house a fully-fledged TB hospital.
According to department spokesman Dumisani Malamule “The Mbhejeka Community Health Centre is big enough to be converted to meet the requirements of the current Standerton TB Hospital. The Department will consider transferring some of the officials and most of the lower categories will be relocated to other Lekwa health facilities. The department is in process of redesigning and renovating Mbhejeka to meet the requirements and standards of a specialised TB facility. When we are finished the relocation will be considered.”
A current assessment done by the department indicates that the modification of Mbhejeka will cost about R9 million.
The Department says the modification will be effected in the new financial year of 2018/19 with the planning, designs and appointment of a contractor being completed in the current financial year.
An edited version of this story was published by Health24.