R107m for maintaining E Cape roads

Pretoria – The Eastern Cape has invested up to R107 million in plant machinery for the maintenance of the provincial roads located in municipalities and it will continue with the maintenance of surfaced roads through a programme of resealing.

Speaking on Friday during his State of the Province Address, Premier Phumulo Masualle said the province is continuing with the construction work on strategic roads and related infrastructure throughout the province.

“As we implement the Presidential Strategic Integrated Projects in the province, we are moving ahead with plans for the development of the N2 Wild Coast route from East London to the Mthamvuna River.

“This project includes the construction of two mega-bridge structures on the Msikaba and Mthentu Rivers, as well as seven additional major river bridges and three interchanges.

“The South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) estimates that the tender for both bridges will be awarded and contractors be on site during the first quarter of 2017/18 financial year,” he said.

As part of the celebrations for the centenary of the OR Tambo, the Nkantolo road linking the R61 and his birth place is being surfaced.

Other roads under construction include the R61 from the Mthamvuna River to Mbizana, and the R72 from East London to Port Alfred, as well as sections of the N2 between East London, Peddie, Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth.

Healthcare sector

The province has also supported over 2 000 medical students with bursaries and over 3 000 student nurses, post-basic nurses, midwifery nurses and technicians graduated across the province.

The training of healthcare professionals has also targeted pharmacists, medical doctors and radiographers.

“We have reduced the maternal mortality rate from 156 maternal deaths per 100 000 births at the beginning of the term, down to 135.2 in 2016, whilst the infant and child mortality rates for children under five have been reduced to 12.8 per 100 000 children in 2016.

“We have also managed to reduce the rate of prevalence of HIV/Aids for people between 15 and 49 years of age from 10.4% in 2014 to 7.7% by 2016,” Premier Masualle said.

This was achieved through enhanced antiretroviral (ARV) distribution, as well as through the pregnant mothers’ programme.

Partnerships with NGOs, as well as the strengthened role of the Eastern Cape Aids Council also contributed to the improvement.

“With respect to TB management, 1 424 752 clients 5 years and older were screened in facilities for Tuberculosis (TB) symptoms by mid-year 2016. In the same period, TB Treatment success rate stood at 83.6%.

“Moving forward, in the year ahead, our focus will be on increasing universal health coverage by strengthening the re-engineering of Primary Health Care, which is the cornerstone of the NHI program,” he said.

The provincial government will continue with implementing the World Health Organization 90-90-90 strategy on HIV, STIs and TB.

The 90-90-90 targets calls for a scale-up of HIV testing so that 90% of people with HIV are aware of their infection, 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are linked to antiretroviral treatment (ART) and 90% of those on ART adhere and have undetectable levels of HIV in their blood.

“To this end, HIV Counselling and Testing will continue in order to improve the HIV testing coverage in the Province. For the 2017/18 year, we are targeting to test 1.4 million clients for HIV.

“We also aim to increase the number of HIV positive adults accessing ART to 500 000; and to improve on the current 82% of the TB treatment success rate to 90%,” Premier Masualle said.

Source: South African Government News Agency