Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says government needs to change its budget strategy to strengthen the public health system if the country, along with other African states, are to take the continent forward.

The Minister said the strategy would also include prioritising the prevention of disease and promoting health to ensure that people get good quality health care. The Minister said this when tabling his department’s Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday.

He said the need for stronger public health systems was crucial as it would enhance the ability for the health sector to prevent and manage disease outbreaks like Ebola, Meningitis, Tuberculosis, HIV and Aids and Polio, for example. It was for this reason that at a recent World Health Organisation conference in Benin, Ministers of health took a decision that instead of having vertical programmes – separate budgets to fight Malaria, Polio, HIV Aids, TB, among others – governments should invest in strengthening public health systems.

“We believe that what will help Africa are strong health systems which in turn will withstand whichever outbreak emerges because … we actually do not know what will follow next. “Yesterday it was HIV and Aids, today it is Ebola and TB andtomorrow is what? “We do not know but we believe that some other outbreak is unfortunately in the pipeline … ” He said the outbreak of diseases that he referred to could be caused by climate change, an increasing encroachment of humankind in the habitat of other species in search of food, water and shelter, as well as the ever increasing emergence of the post antibiotic era.

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