HON P. GOVENDER: INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
22 FEBRUARY 2019
Madame Speaker, any piece of legislation that seeks to enhance the health care of our citizens needs to be supported in principle and provided with the necessary resources in practice.
The Inkatha Freedom Party recognises the fact that the National Public Health Institute of South Africa Bill [B16D – 2017] seeks to do just that as it will ensure a well coordinated and structured approach to disease surveillance thereby providing vital information to health care professionals across the country.
Whilst we acknowledge that there are institutions that are researching and monitoring both communicable and non-communicable diseases presently, there needs to a more structured and coordinated approach in order that we do not see such efforts being duplicated across provinces. Communicable diseases do not recognize borders and therefore there is a need for constant surveillance and research in order for the National Department of Health and its provincial departments to be kept well-informed. Such advance knowledge will ensure that health care professionals will be better placed to handle any outbreak or incidents of diseases.
Madame Speaker, since many of our citizens in KwaZulu-Natal live in remote parts of the province, advance knowledge and information will be critical in saving lives. Whilst diseases such as malaria and various strains of TB are always a threat to our citizens, incidents of obesity are reaching alarming proportions. Obesity, especially among children is something that needs immediate attention. Once established, the National Public Health Institute will need to play a vital role in researching and providing interventions that will help curb this growing life-style disease.
The IFP would like to see that this Institute is provided with the resources that it requires to fulfill its mandate. All too often we pass legislation that looks excellent on paper but we fall short when it comes to implementation. The IFP would not like to hear excuses, as we all too often do, from government that there are no material resources or no funding to employ personnel to implement such legislation. We should never have to see health care professionals being frustrated because they are not provided with the necessary resources to do what they are called upon to do. Disease research work is a costly exercise that requires specialized equipment and qualified professionals. The IFP hopes that the necessary budget will be made available to the Institute to carry out its mandate. No piece of legislation is worth anything if it not implemented effectively in the interests of the people it is meant to serve.
Madame Speaker, recognizing the fact that a healthy nation is a productive and happy nation, the Inkatha Freedom Party fully supports the National Public Health Institute of South Africa Bill [B16D-2017]
I THANK YOU