Western Cape Premier Alan Winde outlines some of the work the province has done, as well as its priorities, ahead of his State of the Province Address in Daily Maverick. A focus of the article is the provincial government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the need for a comprehensive vaccine strategy.
He writes: “Over the past year, the Western Cape government has faced exceptionally difficult circumstances which have forced us to focus our attention on fewer priorities, cut what little fat was left in our budget and focus on providing key services targeted at improving the dignity and wellbeing of our residents, making our province safer and building an economy that supports job creation – all while responding to two waves of COVID-19.
“We have also made contingencies to allow us to procure our own vaccines – because we know that the national government has not procured enough, and because we must fight for the lives of the people of this province.
“COVID-19 is still with us and we must prepare for another wave. Our investment in our healthcare facilities during the second wave and the decision to keep the Brackengate Hospital of Hope as our primary COVID-19 intermediate facility are part of our strategy to deal with whatever may come our way in subsequent waves. But the key to reducing the impact of COVID-19 on the province and the country is the roll-out of an effective and widespread vaccine strategy.
“Centralised procurement requires a contingency plan that is complementary to the national strategy, which is why the province has put a framework in place that will allow us to procure our own vaccines if necessary. This does not mean we will not work with or support the national government. In fact, we are committed to ensuring they are regularly informed about our plans.
“Doing this not only reduces the risk associated with only one supply, but would also support the national effort since any additional vaccines sourced for the Western Cape would be in support of the national cause overall.
“A successful vaccination programme in the Western Cape has to be one of our top priorities.”
Winde writes that despite the difficulties have faced over the past year, the province has made progress in key areas of delivery.
He writes: “In our COVID-19 response, we took the advice of our scientists and looked to use new therapies such as high-flow nasal oxygen. We put a project in place to reduce the risk of death in our highest risk group, diabetics, contacting them daily and admitting them to hospital early, which paid off and saved many lives.
“In healthcare, we have delivered more than 1m medicine parcels to chronic patients in their homes, something that has changed how we look at service delivery going forward.
Another feature Winde highlights is the provincial government’s regular updates to the public on the COVID-19 pandemic noting that the Western Cape was also the first province to release its COVID-19 procurement data so that it was available to the public.
Winde writes: “This represents just a fraction of the work we have done as a provincial government at a time when the world was changing and budgets were shrinking.”
Full Daily Maverick report (Open access)