Questions and Replies

Filter by year

30 July 2021 - NW1549

Profile picture: Langa, Mr TM

Langa, Mr TM to ask the Minister of Health

What steps have been taken by his department to resolve the poor management of the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in the Umlazi Township in KwaZulu-Natal?

Reply:

I am assured by the KwaZulu Natal Provincial Department of Health that the management of the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital is in good order. All senior management positions at the Hospital have been filled. The current management is capable of handling challenges that emanate from managing this large and busy regional hospital.

END.

07 July 2021 - NW1413

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether he will furnish Ms H Ismail with the scientific evidence on which the decision was made, as contained in the circular distributed by his department on 29 January 2021 entitled Wrapping of coffins with plastic, wherein some cases of bodies that were wrapped with plastic, the need for funeral directors to wear full personal protective clothing as a precaution, falls away; (2) whether an individual who handles the deceased can contract COVID-19; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) whether an individual can contract COVID-19 in the event that there has been contact with bodily fluids from someone who has died of COVID-19; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) are the relevant details and (b) evidence is there showing that it is possible or impossible?

Reply:

(1) The evidence is clear and has been documented in the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on Infection prevention and control (IPC) for safe management of a dead body in the context of COVID-19, interim guidance, 4 September 2020. The National Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines (South Africa), based on WHO recommendations, outlines the evidence and steps required for handling of COVID-19 bodies and safe burial. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has clarified the difference between death from Ebola and COVID-19 and the burial requirement for each. There is no need for extra PPE- gloves and aprons will suffice since the route of transmission is not like Ebola where the virus survives post mortem in body fluids.

(2) No, to date, there is no reported case of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from a dead body to a human. There is very little risk of infection being transmitted from a dead body to those carefully handling the corpse.

(3) No, however;

a) When dealing with a dead body, all handlers must ensure that IPC precautions are in place such as wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which protects the body, respiratory tract and mucous membranes from accidental splash contamination. Hand hygiene, good ventilation and a clean environment is essential. Good general hygiene is importanct to make sure that working surfaces are free from contamination and by so doing this will ensure safety of everyone using the premises.

b) There is no evidence that SARS-COV-2 can be transmitted via body secretions post mortem.

END.

07 July 2021 - NW1328

Profile picture: Hicklin, Ms MB

Hicklin, Ms MB to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether, with reference to his reply to question 856 on 15 April 2021, healthcare workers were made aware of the fact that the K95 masks presented to them only had a very low filtration-efficacy range and could compromise their own health; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) what consequence management will be meted out to the (a) procurers and (b) suppliers of the specified masks?

Reply:

1. The respirators that did not meet the minimum standard as per the laboratory test were not distributed to health care workers. Where the respirators were distributed these were immediately removed from circulation on instruction to the head of the institution and replaced with respirators that complied with the minimum standard. Communication was sent out to hospitals that received a consignment of donated KN95 that had to be recalled. In this instance the donor replaced the respirators with a new consignment.

2. The National Department of Health: Policy for the Regulation of Quality Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) Supply in Healthcare, August 2020 makes the following provision, in accordance with SAHPRA requirements, for all licensed establishments to conduct post marketing surveillance:

Prior to use of respirators purchased, a minimum of 10 respirators per 1000 (or part thereof) and at least 100 units of 10000 should be randomly picked by the purchaser from the boxes in their possession and sent at a minimum for a Particulate Filter Penetration test at a published accredited South African test laboratory (to sodium chloride) which test must indicate that the respirator has passed the minimum specification. This cost is borne by the seller (incorporated into cost of sale) and selection of respirators for testing is conducted by the purchaser to maintain integrity of random selection, testing and reporting to the purchaser.

a) If respirators pass this test, all respirators in the same production batch may be used, in the same purchase and having been delivered, and in possession of the purchaser.

b) Failed tests require a second batch of randomly selected (or the same) respirators be sent for formal testing as per point 6

c) The final result of the testing must be reported to the supplier and a copy supplied to SAHPRA and the NRCS. The supplier is then required by the regulators to report (as per pharmaceutical batch recalls), on a publicly accessible portal for the particular batch affected (as per many other global regulatory agency standards for quality testing) at a minimum on SAHPRA and NRCS websites (or a link from one to the other).

d) Publication will only reference the manufacturer, batch failed and test results. The implication should not necessarily be that all respirators from the manufacturer are defective.”

END.

07 July 2021 - NW1521

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Ms MD

Hlengwa, Ms MD to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether his department has conducted adequate research on the capacity for vaccination roll-out programmes across the Republic; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) with reference to the report provided by the Health Sciences Faculty at the University of Fort Hare, what is the capacity of his department to deliver the planned number of vaccinations in the second phase by the end of June 2021 in the Eastern Cape; (3) whether his department supports the findings made in the specified report on its lack of capacity for the vaccination roll-out; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) what plans and teaching programmes does his department have in place to encourage South Africans to register for vaccinations, especially for the current cohort receiving vaccines?

Reply:

I am not able to respond to this Question as I am still waiting for the Honourable Member to share the report that the Honourable Member is referring to. Once the Honourable member has furnished me with the report, that would enable me to reply fully to the information requested by the question.

END.

05 July 2021 - NW1663

Profile picture: Marais, Mr S

Marais, Mr S to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Given the vaccination roll-out programme and the announcement of vaccinations based on age, by what date does he envisage will vaccinations to multiple disabled persons be offered, as they often have comorbidities making them the most vulnerable members of society to contract the COVID-19 virus; 2) what are the reasons that they will not be vaccinated at the same time as their parents and caregivers, since they are often cared for by their parents who are older than 60 years; (3) what are the full, relevant details of the reasons that their exposure to COVID-19 infection and the risk of them dying is not treated as a high priority in terms of the policies on the roll-out of the vaccine by his department?

Reply:

1. People with disabilities who live in care homes of any description are vaccinated through the outreach programmes through the ‘congregate settings’ programme. People who are bedridden can, where it is possible, be visited and vaccinated at home. Insured patients should arrange this with their medical aids. For public patients this will depend on the capacity of the provincial health department.

2. The Electronic Vaccine Distribution System (EVDS) is programmed to schedule vaccinations in age bands as determined by the government from time to time (after advice from various Ministerial Advisory and other committees).

3. Vaccination of every person in South Africa is considered important and urgent. The reality is that the capacity of the combined public and private health services to vaccinate people is limited. There are many competing priorities for vaccination and these priorities are addressed within the capacity of the system and the availability of vaccine. There is no objective way to choose one person’s health needs above another, so the focus has started with the groups where the greatest concentration of risk has been identified and that is in the age group over 60 years. The rollout to others is as fast as the vaccine and the services can manage.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1204

Profile picture: van der Merwe, Ms LL

van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Health

What is the total number of babies who were born to undocumented foreign nationals and/or illegal migrants in government health facilities in each year in the past five years?

Reply:

The Department of Health strives to take reasonable legislative and other measures to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to have access to health care services including reproductive health care in terms of its Constitutional obligations. Section 27 (1) (a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa states that everyone has the right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care. Section 27 (3) further states that no one may be refused emergency medical treatment.

The statistics on the total number of babies who were born to undocumented foreign nationals and/or illegal migrants in government health facilities in each year in the past five years is not available as our health facilities do not keep statistics on foreign nationals.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1182

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Ms MD

Hlengwa, Ms MD to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Following the recent fire that broke out at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital which saw operations being halted, what is the extent of the (a) damage and (b) disruption caused in the services provided to patients at the hospital; (2) were there any lives lost as a direct result of the fire; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The National Department of Health is still awaiting information from the Gauteng Provincial Department of Health, to enable the Minister to respond to this question. The response will be provided to Parliament as soon as information has been received from the Provincial Department of Health.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1276

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

Whether he will furnish Ms H Ismail with the (a) full details of the person(s) and/or company that provide funding to the SA Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority and (b) breakdown of the total amounts provided by each funder?

Reply:

The (a) full details of the person(s) and/or companies that provide funding to the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) and (b) breakdown of the total amounts provided by each funder are indicated in the table below:

Full details of the person(s) and/or company that provide funding to the SAHPRA

Breakdown of the total amounts provided by each funder

Clinton Health Access Initiative

R 1 441 170 (Direct donation)

Centers for Disease Control

R 16 739 056 (Direct donation through NDOH)

Public Health Enhancement Fund

R 2 580 000 (Services in kind)

Right to Care

R 94 204 (Services in kind – Office accommodation)

Bill and Mellinda Gates Foundation

R 73 000 000 (Services in kind)

National Treasury

R60 000 000 (Conditional Grant)

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1029

Profile picture: Thembekwayo, Dr S

Thembekwayo, Dr S to ask the Minister of Health

In light of the peer-reviewed study published in the medical journal The Lancet, where trial results showed that the Russian developed COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, has shown an efficacy of 91% and is deemed safe, what are the reasons that he cannot speed-up the procurement of the Sputnik V-vaccine for South African citizens?

Reply:

The Gamaleya Institute is still undergoing investigations into the effectiveness of the Sputnik V in the presence of the 501Y.V2 (B.1.351, or Beta) variant, which is the main circulating strain of COVID-19 in South Africa. The published results do not represent the effectiveness of this vaccine against this variant. Also, concern was raised with regards to the second booster dose which uses the Ad5 vector, where previous work in the Phamibili study showed that using this vector may increase the acquisition of HIV, particularly in males. 

The Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 Vaccines has been engaging with the Gameleya Institute to investigate these matters further.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1092

Profile picture: Wilson, Ms ER

Wilson, Ms ER to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether, in light of the Department of Labour issuing a notice with regard to the amendments that had to be made to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993, at the Forensic Laboratories at 271 Visagie Street, Pretoria, in October 2018, the amendments have been made; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, on what date did the amendments begin according to the notification; (2) what are the reasons that (a) the amendments have not been completed and (b) it has taken three years to act on the notification which advised that such improvements had to be made in 60 days; (3) on what date will the amendments in terms of the notification be completed?

Reply:

1. The Department of Employment and Labour issued an improvement and contravention notice to the Forensic Chemistry Laboratory at 271 Visagie Street, Pretoria on 8 October 2018. The laboratory began immediately with the compliance requirement in the improvement notice under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993. Copies of all relevant Acts and Regulations have been made available at the laboratory. Posters are also visible on the walls of the corridors of the laboratory. All DB boards in the laboratory have warning signs attached to them. This was done by the laboratory in October 2018.

2. The risk assessments and medical surveillance program of employees were part of a tender awarded to a service provider in 2019 to cover the National Department of Health and its decentralised units including the Forensic Chemistry Laboratories. The service provider was due to start the risk assessments and medical surveillance of employees in March 2020. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic response the service provider undertook risk assessments related to Covid-19 only and not general health and safety assessments. In addition, many employees were not at work or undergoing rotational shifts in line with DPSA guidelines and thus the medical surveillance programme was placed on hold. It is envisaged that the risk assessments will be conducted in the third quarter of the 2021/22 financial year. Medical surveillance will be undertaken in the fourth quarter of the 2021/22 financial year after the risk assessments in order to link risk assessments to medical surveillance of individual employees.

Afrox was not able to assist the laboratory with the Certificate of Compliance for gases. The laboratory is following up with Afrox to take responsibility and provide a Certificate of Compliance.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure was contacted on the 23 October 2018 and to date despite follow up by the laboratory manager on multiple occasions has not responded on the contravention notice covering infrastructure, electrical and mechanical requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993.

3. The laboratory does not have any details or specific dates on when to expect the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to attend to the request. The Director-General will write to the Director-General of Public Works and Infrastructure later this month requesting feedback and intervention.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1026

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

(a) What total number of recently graduated medical doctors (i) have been placed as medical interns as at 1 April 2021 and (ii) are still sitting at home, waiting to be placed and (b) what (i) has he found caused the delays in placing the recently graduated medical doctors and (ii) steps are being taken by his department to resolve the situation?

Reply:

a) According to records on the Internship and Community Service Placement (ISCP) online System, 257 medical students were confirmed to have met the requirements to be allocated for medical internship as at end of April 2021 (i.e. 138 NMFC students who passed the Cuban National Exam; 26 passed the HPCSA Medical Board Exam; and 93 completed their blocks in local universities which made them eligible for medical internship posts, (i) 0 has been allocated on medical interns on 1 April 2021, as there are only two allocation cycle for medical internship, which are 1 January and 1 July of each year and (ii) 257 are still waiting for allocation and will be allocated during June to take up positions on 1 July 2021 and (b) (i) there was no delay as the applicants were not yet eligible for medical internship at the time (ii) the ICSP online System will opened applications from 14 May 2021. Only after the application process is closed, the actual application numbers will be confirmed as more students are becoming eligible (i.e. completing blocks).

b) Due to increased number of qualifying applicants for medical internship posts the Public health sector remains challenged by budget cuts to fund additional internship posts and to accredit excessive number of medical internship posts in health facilities as it requires additional resources (appointment of additional specialists and senior medical doctors).

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1152

Profile picture: Chetty, Mr M

Chetty, Mr M to ask the Minister of Health

Whether, with regard to the Republic’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement that has lagged behind compared to most other emerging countries, his department has made an effort to leverage the Republic’s bilateral cooperation agreements with vaccine producing countries to procure more vaccines; if not, why not; if so, what are the further relevant details?

Reply:

The two major vaccine manufacturing countries are China and Russia. Vaccines require regulatory approval from SAHPRA. Countries cannot be the applicant and have to work through commercial entities to obtain approval. We have been in discussion with a number of companies having obtained marketing approval from the Gamaleya Institute of Russia for the Sputnik vaccine and with Numolux for the Sinovac vaccine. When all regulatory mattera have been attended to, the negotiations will progress further.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1054

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

What are the relevant details of (a) how the Government’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines is funded and (b) the detailed breakdown of the funding provided by (i) the Government, (ii) medical aids and (iii) any other person and/or entity?

Reply:

a) Government procurement of vaccines is supported by the allocation of funds from National Treasury to the National Department of Health as earmarked funds.

b) (i) As sole procurer of vaccines from manufacturers, all the vaccines are purchased by the National Department of Health

(ii)-(iii) The vaccines are supplied to vaccination sites in the private and public sector who administer vaccines. Private sector sites buy the vaccine from the NDOH and will claim from medical schemes for the vaccine and administration of vaccines to the insured patients. For uninsured patients, the vaccination sites will claim from the Department

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1281

Profile picture: Graham, Ms SJ

Graham, Ms SJ to ask the Minister of Health

(1)With respect to the commitment of Government to address the scourge of gender-based violence, what (a) number of Thuthuzela Centres are located in each province, (b) number of hospitals do not have rape kits in each province and (c) are the reasons that the specified hospitals do not have rape kits; (2) whether there is a prescribed number of rape kits required in each hospital; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what number is prescribed; (3) whether hospital staff in emergency wards are trained in processing a rape victim; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) whether hospitals are precluded from processing a rape victim if that person has not given a statement at a police station first; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

First and foremost, on the matter of handling of alleged rape cases, it must be borne in mind that the process of investigating the alleged rape must follow a specific and prescribed chain of evidence to ensure that medico-legally there is no compromise to the quality of evidence collected, thus protecting the victim when the evidence is before a court of law. Bearing this in mind, the response to this question is as follows:

(a) The total number of Thuthuzela care centres (TCCs) in the country is 55.

Eastern Cape: 9

Free State: 4

Gauteng: 7

KwaZulu Natal: 8

Limpopo: 7

Mpumalanga: 5

Northern Cape: 4

North West: 5

Western Cape: 6

a) Hospitals are not obligated to have rape kits as the Department of Health is not involved in the procurement and delivery of rape kits as procurement and delivery is the responsibility of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The SAPS brings these kits along to the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) as and when there is a sexual assault reported. Therefore the issue of keeping rape kits at health facilities only emanates where there is a discussion between the health facility and the SAPS station responsible.

b) Not applicable based on the response in 1(b). 

2. There is no prescribed number of rape kits required in each hospital. The provision of rape kits is a competency of the SAPS. However as Department of Health we take Gender based violence very seriously and it is our duty to ensure that these rape kits are available at all times to execute evidence collection at our health facilities.

We are therefore working closely together with SAPS to ensure that rape kits are always available. These kits are then delivered to the health facilities by the SAPS, for collection of evidence by health professionals, during physical examination of the survivors of sexual violence. The evidence collected by health professional using these rape kits, is then taken by SAPS to the Police Forensic Laboratory for DNA analysis.

(3) Yes, hospital staff in emergency wards is trained in processing a rape victim.

The Department of health provides service at all hospitals to manage and process survivors of rape. This is done through:

  • qualified clinical forensic nurses and doctors
  • Ten (10) to more days training using the manual developed by the South African Medical Research Council, the content of which is highlighted below. if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; 

Health professionals provide the following services to survivors of rape:

  • physical examination,
  • Collection of forensic evidence using J88 form. Medico-legal evidence comprises both documentation on the examination done and DNA evidence collected during the examination.
  • in children, laboratory evidence of particular sexually transmitted infections can also be used as evidence.
  • reporting child abuse, neglect and exploitation to Department of Social Development and SAPS where necessary.
  • registration of women and children seen for sexual assaults at health facilities
  • providing HIV testing and counselling, which includes providing post exposure prophylaxis
  • provision of Prophylaxis (PEP) medication to survivors of rape; which should be available 24 hours a day and patients should be prioritised irrespective of the nature of physical injuries among others.
  • provision of ccomfort packs for rape victims;
  • referral of women and children to Department of Social Development in the instance their safety is at risk to ensure that they are provided a safe environment such as shelters.
  • referral to Psychiatrists and Psychologist to manage emotional and psychological trauma.

(4) No, hospitals are not precluded from processing a rape survivor if that person has not given a statement at a police station first. Survivors of rape have a choice of which authority they wish to access first. We however have noted that majority of rape survivors access the health facility first before they report the matter to a police station and are not dismissed at all.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1228

Profile picture: Thembekwayo, Dr S

Thembekwayo, Dr S to ask the Minister of Health

Whether he has been furnished with any reason that travel restrictions are not necessary to be imposed on persons who have travelled to India, in order to prevent the spread of the specific coronavirus variant, such as the B.1.617, from the specified country; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

No. There were no reasons furnished to the minister that travel restrictions are not necessary to be imposed on persons who have travelled to India, in order to prevent the spread of the specific coronavirus variant, such as the B.1.617. This is because there are no direct flights from India to South Africa.

The Department of Health has made general recommendations on the additional travel control measures that should be applied to travellers from all “Countries of Concern” and not necessarily from India only, which is part of these countries. The proposed intervention is for travellers who have travelled from or transited through any “Country of Concern” within 14 days of arriving in South Africa to be subjected to antigen testing at the point of entry on arrival.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1230

Profile picture: Motsepe, Ms CCS

Motsepe, Ms CCS to ask the Minister of Health

Whether, taking into account the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccination, he has revised his vaccination targets for the nation; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the new dates by which he intends to have vaccinated enough persons to protect the nation against the spread of the virus?

Reply:

The targets for the vaccine roll-out as follows:

Phase

Time period

Number of vaccinations

1

February – May 2021

1.2 million

2

May – October 2021

16.6 million

3

November 2021 – February 2022

22.6 million

The targets remain as previously announced. The targets are linked to the vaccine supply pipeline, and may need to be revised if vaccine manufacturers do not supply vaccines according to the agreed timelines.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1055

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

Whether he will provide a full report on each vaccine with regard to ethnicity efficiencies studied; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1083

Profile picture: Wilson, Ms ER

Wilson, Ms ER to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What are the reasons that 72 interns with 20 years of laboratory experience were (a) put on a forensic toxicology training programme under a certain person (name furnished) in Pretoria with a certain person (name also furnished) for a year in 2012 and (b) accommodated in a hotel for a year despite many of them coming from Pretoria; (2) (a) what number of days in a week did the interns attend lectures at the hotel and (b) at what time did the lectures take place; (3) what (a) is the name of the hotel where the interns were accommodated and (b) was the total cost of the accommodation for the interns, including meals, refreshments, phones and other relevant details; (4) where were the interns placed after they completed the training presented by the specified person?

Reply:

The National Department of Health is still awaiting information from the University of Pretoria, to enable the Minister to respond to this question. The response will be provided to Parliament as soon as information has been received from the University of Pretoria.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1084

Profile picture: Wilson, Ms ER

Wilson, Ms ER to ask the Minister of Health

(1)(a) With which sector education and training authority was the training registered that was conducted by a certain person (name furnished) for the Forensic Pathology Services under a certain person (name furnished), with regard to a year-long Forensic Toxicology Training programme of 72 interns in 2012, (b) on what date was it registered, (c) did the specified training have a National Qualifications Framework level qualification and (d) what was the (i) period over which remuneration was paid and (ii) remuneration that was paid to the specified person; (2) what (a) was the number of years during which a certain person served as the mentor of a certain person at the University of Pretoria, (b) other contracts have been entered into by the Forensic Laboratory with the specified person and (c) was the total cost of each contract?

Reply:

The National Department of Health is still awaiting information from the University of Pretoria, to enable the Minister to respond to this question. The response will be provided to Parliament as soon as information has been received from the University of Pretoria.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1027

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

What is the (a) race and (b) gender demographic of the persons who have been vaccinated as part of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial to date?

Reply:

a) Race is not a data element recorded nor collected as part of the vaccination record for vaccinees.

b) Total number of Vaccinations as at 9 May 2021 at 15h30 total 382 568.

  • Number of Male Vaccinees = 93 220 which represents 24.4 % of the total number of Vaccinees
  • Number of Female Vaccinees = 382568 which represents 75.4 % of the total number of Vaccinees

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1213

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

Whether (a) the President, (b) the Deputy President, (c) any of the Cabinet Ministers, (d) any of the Deputy Ministers and/or their (e) spouses, (f) partners and (g) children have been vaccinated against COVID-19; if so, (i) on what dates in each case and (ii) where did the vaccinations take place in each case?

Reply:

Leaders including politicians who are eligible to be vaccinated based on the prevailing eligibility criteria have been encouraged to vaccinate in order to publicise the vaccine roll-out, and to build confidence in the programme amongst vaccine-hesitant citizens.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Health, were vaccinated in public on 17th February 2021 at the Khayelitsha District Hospital in the Western Cape at the start of the Sisonke Early Access programme.

However, vaccination status of individuals remains confidential, and the National Department of Health is therefore not in a position to divulge the vaccination status of the other persons identified in the above question.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1249

Profile picture: Cebekhulu, Inkosi RN

Cebekhulu, Inkosi RN to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Given the reality brought to us by the COVID-19 pandemic about the importance of investing in scientific research capacity for pharmaceutical production, what strategies has the Government adopted to boost local research capacity in pharmaceuticals; (2) whether the Government intends to intervene in the pharmaceutical sector to ensure self-reliance in pharmaceuticals; if not, why not; if so, what (a) are the relevant details of the strategy and (b) is the projected timeline?

Reply:

1. The SAMRC has a variety of grant programs (both internal and through strategic partnerships) that are supporting drug discovery research and development in key health priority areas. These projects are leading to novel drug targets and candidate molecules and include plant-based medicines as well as biologicals such as vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.

The Technology Innovation Agency, with funding from the Department of Science and Innovation has established an API Cluster aimed at increasing the capacity of the country to develop the processes and manufacturing capability for the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients. This cluster links innovators at the universities and science councils with industry, including development partners and pilot production facilities. This provides a mechanism to advance new drugs in development by local innovators towards testing and approval. One of the objectives is to synthesise molecules that may have efficacy against Covid to ensure continuity of supply. We are in discussions with international partners round this.

Government, through the Department of Science and Innovation, is a shareholder in The Biovac Institute, which has embarked on an ambitious journey to bring manufacture of vaccine APIs to the country. Biovac has been pursuing a backward integration strategy and has undertaken technology transfers with major pharmaceutical companies to establish the capacity for formulation, fill and finish of vaccines. It is raising funding to expand this capacity and to add a production suite for antigens/immunogens/biologicals. The same applies for Afrigen Biologics. Biovac and Afrigen are, further, developing its own vaccine candidates. Government has also been supporting the CSIR’s efforts to establish GMP manufacture of biologicals using plant production systems. The team are actively working on a concerted strategy to leverage off South Africa’s scientific investments to see if these can translate into products.

There are a number of pockets of excellence in drug discovery and vaccine development research in South Africa, situated predominantly at the universities and science councils. A key bottleneck, however, is the pilot scale manufacture of these under GMP conditions for clinical trials and later commercial manufacture at scale. This is where further investment is required to ensure that the full pharmaceutical and vaccine development value chain is in place in the country.

2. On 2 October 2020, India and South Africa proposed the TRIPS Waiver”, a proposal to suspend intellectual property protections for products and technologies needed for the fight against COVID-19, including vaccines, for the duration of the pandemic. This would involve a temporary suspension of certain rules set out in the Trips agreement, the intellectual property treaty of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The waiver proposal by India and South Africa presents an important opportunity for all governments to unite and stand up for public health, global solidarity, and equitable access through a concrete step at the international level that can provide an automatic and expedited solution to address IP and technology challenges collectively.   The TRIPS Waiver proposal is now gaining support from major drug manufacturing countries.

The Department of Science and Innovation, and Trade, Industry and Competition are developing strategies for the local production of pharmaceuticals, especially the production of the active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Inter-Ministerial Committee on Covid-19 vaccines has a DPME lead Technical Working Group tasked with mobilizing local capacity to deliver the dosages required and building a long-term capability step by step using current capacity from upstream to downstream to prepare for the next pandemic. They are starting by looking at the vaccines already developed and approved and those in the pipeline to determine what they can do locally in ensuring dosages by using a fill/finish strategy and then move to how to build capabilities to enable future pandemic response.

The following are key milestones that have been achieved to date:

  1. Several partnerships established with current and under development Covid-19 vaccines developers (Biological E partnership; ImmunityBio; Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of Cuba; Greenlight BioScience for technology transfer of mRNA technology; Kentucky Bio-Products; and J&J – already manufacturing locally through Aspen)
  2. South Africa have the following competitive advantages which can be used to build permanent State Infrastructure to enable future pandemic response

      a) South Africa has experienced principal investigators who are employees of universities and Science Councils which is an advantage.

       b) Bioanalytical laboratories e.g. North-West University/DSI – Preclinical Drug Development Platform facility has been developed for this purpose

       c) Ethics related expertise including individuals for the data safety and management board

       d) Existing capabilities locally: CAPRISA, SAMRC, AURUM, DESMOND TUTU, WITS HEALTH, AHRI, and others on the clinical research side

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1248

Profile picture: Majozi, Ms Z

Majozi, Ms Z to ask the Minister of Health

Whether his department has a strategy in place to ensure self-reliance of the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine in future; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for increased vaccine security and therefore, self-reliance. However, the development of local vaccine manufacturing is a complex process that has high risk associated with it. To ensure the quality and consistency of vaccine manufacturing, hundreds of process steps need to be followed and there are thousands of check points for testing. The transfer of intellectual property rights as well knowledge transfer on vaccine manufacturing should be coupled with massive investment in manufacturing capacity. Currently there is an unprecedented level of support across African governments, African and Global Public Health (GPH) institutions, and the private sector, which is driven by the need for increased vaccine security and self-reliance highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As part of the African Union we have embarked upon a project to understand the strengths to leverage and challenges that could be faced develop a framework on vaccine manufacturing on the continent including opportunities for collaboration with a range of public and private sector stakeholders. This work is ongoing and is aimed at future pandemic preparedness.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1028

Profile picture: Thembekwayo, Dr S

Thembekwayo, Dr S to ask the Minister of Health

What role will (a) medical schemes and (b) private hospitals play in the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations in the Republic?

Reply:

a) South Africa’s national COVID-19 vaccination strategy is designed along the principles of equitable access, social solidarity and fair pricing. Our main priority as government is to ensure that we have the most rational approach to procuring, distributing and administering the vaccine to all members of the national population, irrespective of whether they have medical scheme cover or not.

Medical schemes, as per the provisions of the Medical Schemes Act and its enabling regulations, are mandated to fund for all their members’ costs associated with the diagnosis, treatment, management and vaccination for COVID-19. These costs are to be paid for in full as per the categorization of COVID-19 as a Prescribed Minimum Benefit. Government has also put into place a mechanism to support medical schemes, and their administrators, in establishing accredited COVID-19 vaccination sites across the country. This is intended to expand the number of sites that medical scheme members and non-members can access in order for them to receive their vaccination as per their registration and scheduling on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS).

b) Government position is that the effective, fair and sustainable achievement of the targets outlined in the vaccination plan requires a collaborative effort involving a number of partners. Private hospitals, including general practitioner as well as community and corporate pharmacies, are playing a role in the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy. The National Department of Health, in liaison with the South African Pharmacy Council, has determined clear criteria that all facilities must comply with (such as having the appropriate cold change facilities and trained personnel to administer the vaccines) in order to receive accreditation as a vaccination site. Therefore, private hospitals would also need to comply with these requirements to be able to participate in the roll-out. Private hospitals and private pharmacies are already participating in the vaccines roll-out program.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1131

Profile picture: Gwarube, Ms S

Gwarube, Ms S to ask the Minister of Health

What (a) has been the breakdown of the costs of corruption within his department in the past five financial years, (b) number of tenders have been cancelled as a result of irregularities and/or corruption in each province in the past five years, (c) is the total amount of irregular expenditure in each province in the past five years, (d) is the percentage of tenders that have been put on the e-Tender portal in each province in the past five years, (e) is the percentage of tenders that have been uploaded on e-portal sites in each province and (f) is the (i) national and (ii) provincial percentage of tender processes that are paper based?

Reply:

According to the information provided by the Provincial Health Departments the reply is as follows:

EASTERN CAPE

a) The following table reflects the details in this regard.

PERIOD

CATEGORY

TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES

CASES ABOVE R100,0000

 

FRAUD

CORRUPTION

   

2017/2018

7

11

18

2

2018/2019

7

13

20

2

2019/2020

2

8

10

-

2020/2021

2

3

5

-

TOTAL

18

35

53

4

b) No tenders have been cancelled as a result of irregularities or corruption.

c) The bulk of irregular expenditure as per the table below comprises of extension of contracts above the 15% NT threshold. The 2020/21 figure not yet final.

d) All bids above R500k are advertised on the e-Tender portal other than deviations due to sole source or emergency procurement.

e) All bids above R500k are advertised on the e-Tender portal other than deviations due to sole source or emergency procurement.

f) (ii) The Eastern Cape Department of Health is currently using manual systems which are paper based. The plans to digitise procurement processes have been included on the departmental strategic plan and processes are underway to engage SITA for assistance.

FREE STATE

a) Free State Psychiatric Complex – Fraudulent payment to various transactions to suppliers at FSPC. Double payment were made to various suppliers on same order numbers by means of LOGIS and Sundry Payments (BAS System). Cost involved R7,821,587.62.

b) None, tenders were not cancelled due to irregularities or allegations of corruptions.

c) The total amount registered for Free State Department of Health is: R1,605,678,521.22.

d) 100% all tenders were published on e-Tender portal.

e) 100% tenders were uploaded on e-Tender portal and published on the Provincial Tender Bulleting.

f) (ii) 80% processes are paper based.

GAUTENG

a) 

Year

No of Cases of Corruption

Costs

2020-21

None

R0

2019-20

6

R12 600 944.78

2018-19

1

R2 773 209.60

2017-18

7

R2 875 716.49

2016-17

1

R987 032.00

b) There are two tender that have been cancelled, are as follows;

  • GT/GDH/118/119/120/121/2016) Supply of Physical Security Services
  • (GT/GDH/123/2013)-ICT Infrastructure Refresh – the provision of V-Blocks to Head Office, Zola, New, Natalspruit, Steve Biko and Charlotte Maxeke Hospitals.

Year

Amount

2017

2 050 841 000

2018

1 703 205 000

2019

2 862 156 000

2020

2 318 994 000

2021

3 549 745 000

TOTAL

12 484 941 000

d) 100%- Tenders are advertised by E-Gove as well as Government Tender Bulletin.

e) 100% Tenders are advertised by E-Gove as well as Government Tender Bulletin.

f) (ii) All tenders are advertised through National Tender Bulletin and can be downloaded from respective provincial e-tender portal by prospective bidders.

KWAZULU-NATAL

FY 2016/2017 R 16 918 744,00

FY 2017/2018 R 8 505 932,68

FY 2018/2019 R 118 169 545,62

FY 2019/2020 R 474 767,75

FY 2020/2021 R 110 000,00

b) No tenders have been cancelled in the province in the past 5 years due to irregularities and/or corruption in KZN.

c) 

 

‘000

‘000

‘000

ROOO

ROOO

Period

2015/2016

2016/2017

2017/2018

2018/2019

2019/2020

Totals

R1,257,484

R1,325,084

R1,464,342

R1,541,732

R1,433,975

d) 100%. All tenders in the province have been advertised on the e-Tender portal.

e) 100%

f) (ii) 100%

LIMPOPO

a) None.

b) None.

c) No irregular expenditure as a result of corruption within the department.

f) 100% of tenders were put on the e-Tender portal in the past five years.

e) 100% of tenders were uploaded on e-Tender portal site of the department.

f) (ii) 100% of tender process are paper based in the department

MPUMALANGA

a) The Department does not have known cases of corruption reported

b) The Department has cancelled contracts for appointed service provider for supply of perishable and non-perishable food due to non-compliance with UIF

c) 

Financial year

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/2020

Amount

1 552 623 000

309 920 000

138 899 000

122 157 000

d) Not applicable – Provincial Treasury competency

e) Not applicable – Provincial Treasury competency

f) (ii) Not applicable

NORTHERN CAPE

a) No cost of corruption incurred in the past five financial years

b) No contract was cancelled as a result of irregularities and/or corruption in the past five years.

c) 

2016/17: R574,183,000

2018/19: R714,939,000

2019/20: R497,829,000

2020/21: R492,748,000 (Preliminary)

Total: R2,692,078,000

d) 

2016/17: No tenders issued

2017/18: 60% (3 out of 5)

2018/19: 0%

2019/20: 0%

2020/21: 0%

e) No tenders were ever uploaded on the e-Portal site.

f) (ii)

2016/17: No tenders issued

2017/18: 40% (2 out of 5)

2018/19: 100%

2019/20: 100%

2020/21: 100%

NORTH WEST

a) No cost of corruption incurred in the past five financial years

b) NWDOH 40/2021, Supply of Physical Security Services

c) 

Year

Amount

2016/2017

721 445 000

2017/2018

809 267 000

2019

1 333 654 000

2020

1 189 467 000

2021

682 000 000

TOTAL

4 735 833 000

d) Irregular expenditure for the past 5 years = R4 728 202 000.

e) 100%- Tenders are advertised by E-Gove as well as Government Tender Bulletin

f) 100%- Tenders are advertised by E-Gove as well as Government Tender Bulletin

g) (ii) All tenders are advertised through National Tender Bulletin and can be downloaded from respective provincial e-tender portal by prospective bidders

WESTERN CAPE

a) None.

b) None based.

c) 

(R’000)

2020/21:               2,452 (unaudited)

2019/20:               6,472

2018/19:             13,260

2017/18:             23,553

2016/17:             11,459

2015/16:               7,284

d) Indeterminable. E-portal is a NT app and has been off-line for a few months. NT unable to provide date as to when it will become available.

e) Indeterminable. E-portal is a NT app and has been off-line for a few months. NT unable to provide date as to when it will become available.

f) (ii) BSC, BEC, BAC processes were paper based up to March 2020. Since March 2020, documents had to be worked on electronically, meetings had to be held electronically and declarations of interest and confidentiality of meetings had to be declared at each virtual meeting.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1215

Profile picture: Wilson, Ms ER

Wilson, Ms ER to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What (a) are the qualifications of a certain person (name furnished), (b) subject does the person lecture at the University of Pretoria and (c) was the person paid to develop the Analytical Methods for testing in the Forensic Laboratory Services; (2) whether the specified person is recognised as a Forensic Specialist in other laboratories; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what is the number of court cases in which the person presented evidence as a Forensic Specialist on behalf of the Forensic Laboratory Services?

Reply:

The National Department of Health is still awaiting information from the University of Pretoria, to enable the Minister to respond to this question. The response will be provided to Parliament as soon as information has been received from the University of Pretoria.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1030

Profile picture: Thembekwayo, Dr S

Thembekwayo, Dr S to ask the Minister of Health

What (a) has he found caused the fire at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, (b) were the reasons that the response to the fire was so slow, which led to so much damage to the specified hospital and (c) steps has his department taken since the fire, in order to ensure that services are still provided to persons who depended on the hospital?

Reply:

The National Department of Health is still awaiting information from the Gauteng Provincial Department of Health, to enable the Minister to respond to this question. The response will be provided to Parliament as soon as information has been received from the Provincial Department of Health.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1277

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What are the relevant details of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine trials in the Republic with regard to the (i) number of Johnson and Johnson trials that have been conducted in the Republic, (ii) relevant details and results of such trials, (iii)(aa) number of participants in each ensemble and (bb) their relevant details, outcomes and results and (iv) breakdown of the results for each trial test; 2) (a) where were the specified trials conducted and (b) what are the details of the administering bodies, hospitals and/or clinics?

Reply:

1. (i) There were three Johnson&Johnson trials conducted in South Africa, the ENSEMBLE 1 trial which was a Phase 3 single dose study, ENSEMBLE 2 which is a phase 3 two dose study (which is still ongoing), and the SISONKE study which was an open label phase 3b trial. 

(ii) The SISONKE trial ended recently (on 17 May 2021) and the analysis is only just starting. 

The ENSEMBLE trial was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, main author GJ Sadoff: Safety and Efficacy of Single-Dose Ad26.COV2.S Vaccine against Covid-19. A summary of the results: “A single dose of vaccine protected against symptomatic Covid-19 and asymptomatic COVID-19 infection and was effective against severe-critical disease, including hospitalisation and death. Safety appeared to be similar to that in other phase 3 trials of Covid-19 vaccines. 

(iii)-(iv) (aa) SISONKE: the trial ended on 17 May and the analysis on the data is starting now. 

ENSEMBLE: a total of 44 325 participants underwent randomisation of which 43 783 received either placebo or vaccine. The per-protocol population included 39 321 participants, 19630 of which received vaccine and 19630 received placebo. 

(bb) SISONKE: the trial ended on 17 May and the analysis on the data is starting now. 

ENSEMBLE participants 

Median age: 52 years

Gender: female 45% male 54.9% other <0.1%

Ethnicity: American Indian/Alaskan native <1%; South American 9%; Asian 3%; Black 19%; Pacific Islander <1%; White 58%; Multiracial 6%; unknown 3%.

Country: Latin America 40.9%; South Africa 15%; USA 44.1%

> coexisting condition: 40.8%

Outcomes & Results: Vaccine efficacy after 28 days administration

Moderate to severe-critical COVID-19: 66.1% (95% confidence interval 55.0 – 74.8%)

Symptomatic COVID-19 of any severity: 66.5% (55.5-75.1)

No differences in vaccine efficacy were observed among subgroups (sex, race or ethnic group). Only a marginal decrease in vaccine efficacy noted in participants > 60 with comorbidities after 28 days after administration. Vaccine efficacy against hospitalisation was 100% 28 days after administration. Of the South Africa population, 95% of participants had the 501Y.V2 variant, but the vaccine efficacy remained high. 

 

(2) (a) ENSEMBLE was conducted in South Africa, Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru) and the USA.

SISONKE was conducted in the following 17 institutions, from all 9 provinces:

EC: Frere, Livingstone, Nelson Mandela Academic, Netcare Greenacres hospitals

FS: Bongani, Fezi Ngumbentombi, Life Rosepark, Pelonomi, Universitas hospitals

GP: Ahmed Kathrada, Charlotte Maxeke, Chris Hani Baragwanath, Dr George Mukhari, Netcare Milpark, Steve Biko Academic hospitals

KZN: General Justice Gizenga Mpanza, Edendale, Madadeni, Netcare St Augustines, Prince Mshiyeni Memorial hospitals

LP: Tshilidzini, Donald Fraser, Malamulele, Mediclinic Polokwane, Netcare Pholoso, St Ritas hospitals

MP: Ermelo, Life Cosmos, Mediclinic Nelspruit, Mapulaneng, Rob Ferreira hospitals

NC: Mediclinic Upington, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe hospitals

NW: Job Shimankana Tabane, Klerksdorp-Tshephong Tertiary, Life Peglarae, Mahikeng Provincial, Moses Kotane hospitals

WC: Groote Schuur, Tygerberg, Gatesville, George, Karl Bremer, Khayelitsha District, Paarl, Worcester hospitals.

(b) ENSEMBLE was a multi-national study funded by Janssen Research and Development and others. 

Vaccines for SISONKE were secured by the Department of Health and were administered by teams of researchers and vaccinators. Research staff from the South African Medical Research Council where responsible for ensuring the cold chain and drawing up the correct amount of vaccine. Vaccinators where responsible for complete assessment checks, administering the vaccine and monitoring the participants for a few minutes after administration. END.

04 June 2021 - NW1275

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(a) Whether he will furnish Ms H Ismail with a full report on the Ivermectin controlled-access programme and (b) how long is it envisaged that the review programme for the applications of patients will take before Ivermectin will be allowed to be used?

Reply:

a) Ivermectin Authorisation Status 25/05/2021

 
           
 

Approved

Rejected

Pending

Duplicate

 

Tier 3: Section 22C(1)(b) - licence holder

8

3

0

0

 

Tier 2: Healthcare Facility Stock

134

40

0

4

 

Tier 1: Named-patient

112

15

0

2

 

TOTAL

254

58

0

6

318

b) The use of Ivermectin in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 infections received avid interest recently due to the antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro. Available data to date, mostly from small under-powered studies, show a trend towards some benefit in the management of COVID-19. National and international bodies have reviewed the data; and have concluded that there is unclear evidence of both benefit and harm, in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. After consideration of the impact of the second wave as well as the clinical equipoise that was presented through the various studies reviewed, SAHPRA implemented an Ivermectin Controlled Compassionate Use Programme for approved unregistered ivermectin products to be accessed via a three-tier programme for Section 22C(1)(b) permit holders, healthcare facilities, and named-patient applications. On 16 March 2021,SAHPRA registered Soolantra 10mg/g cream formulation, which contains ivermectin. Soolantra Cream is indicated for the topical treatment of moderate to severe inflammatory lesions of papulopustular rosacea in adult patients and is not for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. The registration of this product enabled the compounding of ivermectin on a prescription basis for specific patients as well as off label use of ivermectin under the section 21 Controlled Compassionate Use Programme.

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1303

Profile picture: Masango, Ms B

Masango, Ms B to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What total number of children were born in the Republic (a) in the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2020 (b) in each year in the specified period; (2) what total number of children were born in each province (a) in the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2020 (b) in each year in the specified period?

Reply:

1. (a) The total number of children born in the Republic in the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2020 was 9, 609, 814.

(b) The total number of children born in the Republic in each year in the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2020 was as follows:

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

947,912

962,705

957,798

961,036

926,723

891,482

924,898

970,698

1,010,853

1,055,709

Source: DHIS

2. (a) The total number of children born in each province in the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2020 was as follows:

Province

Year 2011 to 2020

Eastern Cape Province

1,124,581

Free State Province

471,875

Gauteng Province

2,178,280

KwaZulu-Natal Province

1,964,786

Limpopo Province

1,283,147

Mpumalanga Province

795,754

Northern Cape Province

220,051

North West Province

592,056

Western Cape Province

979,284

Total

9,609,814

Source: DHIS

b) The total number of children born in each province in the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2020 was as follows:

Province

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

EC

119,7

121,606

118,302

120,048

113,52

103,988

101,902

106,139

108,034

111,342

FS

48,55

49,439

47,377

46,432

44,992

41,625

45,769

48,394

49,598

49,699

GP

207,963

211,389

212,873

211,247

209,181

206,18

218,149

224,414

231,927

244,957

KZN

195,541

196,27

194,074

193,032

182,634

177,795

184,828

202,388

218,535

219,689

LIMP

129,695

129,807

129,952

130,059

122,813

119,09

121,728

125,612

131,004

143,387

MPU

75,891

78,53

78,146

79,472

75,654

72,928

77,239

81,482

83,698

92,714

NC

21,473

22,643

22,24

22,973

22,318

20,549

20,918

22,079

22,313

22,545

NW

59,004

59,695

58,999

58,304

57,55

56,309

57,362

59,8

61,591

63,442

WC

90,095

93,326

95,835

99,469

98,061

93,018

97,003

100,39

104,153

107,934

Total

947,912

962,705

957,798

961,036

926,723

891,482

924,898

970,698

1010,853

1055,709

Source: DHIS

END.

04 June 2021 - NW1056

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

What are the relevant details of the specific impact of COVID-19 vaccines approved for vaccination in the Republic, on persons, including with regard to (a) the different age groups and (b) persons with comorbidities, with reference to how effective and/or for how long the vaccines will provide protection against re-infection?

Reply:

Only a marginal reduction in efficacy has been noted the elderly (>60-65 years) in the trials conducted to date. With regards to comorbidities, current trials have shown no difference in efficacy compared to persons without comorbidities. Theoretically they may be less effective in persons with decreased immune system, however the limited trials to date have not shown this.  

There is currently no data on how long the vaccines will provide protection against re-infection.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW849

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(a) Whether he will furnish Ms H Ismail with a comprehensive plan for the actual rollout of vaccines broken down into (i) time frames and the (ii) number of vaccines to be administered on each day and (b) what is being done to address the challenges with Emergency Medical Services in each province?

Reply:

a) The vaccination programme is aims reduce the morbidity and mortality of Covid-19. Fundamentally, it is to ensure community survival and manage economic survival. It will do through two main objectives. In the short term it is to manage severity of disease and reduce mortality by vaccinating the most vulnerable (health care workers, elderly and those with co-morbilidies); and in the medium term to build herd immunity by vaccinating everyone else.

(i) Phase 1 of the programme is targeting health care workers. This phase will be completed by end April 2021. Phase 2 of the Programme will be completed by the end of quarter 2 of the 2021/22 financial year. Phase 3 of the Programme will be completed by the end of the 2021/22 financial year.

(ii) We are estimating that on average we would vaccinate 50,000 persons per day in quarter 1; progressively increasing to on average vaccinating 135,000 persons per day in quarter 4.

b) The National Department of Health promulgated the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Regulations in December 2017. These regulations make provision for a licensing and inspectorate processes and also stipulate the minimum requirements to become an EMS provider for both the public and private sectors. The process of accreditation of EMS providers in compliance with the EMS Regulations is ongoing at provincial level. Only those EMS providers and ambulance units that meet the requirements are issued license token and allowed to operate within the respective health districts.

In addition, the National Department of Health (NDOH) together with the Office of Health Standards and Compliance (OHSC), in consultation with the National Committee for EMS (Provincial EMS Managers) developed the draft Regulations relating to Standards for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to facilitate standardization and equitable services in the provision of public and private EMS countrywide by all accredited EMS providers – now published for public comment. The proposed regulation will not only maintain a standard of service delivery but will also improve the quality of service as well as maintaining a minimum standard of service delivery. It will enhance the EMS Regulation, by detailing the standards required in the provision of a high quality EMS. It will also assist in refining the licensing and inspection process of the EMS Regulations by the respective provincial Licensing and Inspectorate Authorities.

A 5 year quality improvement plan is embedded in the assessment tool – the Ideal EMS Framework – with systems in place for district, provincial and national monitoring which includes the Office of Health Standards Compliance when these regulations are promulgated.

EMS will also form an integral part of the Quality Learning Centres (QLCs) envisaged in the Presidential National Quality Improvement Plan to create centres of excellence in each province. These QLCs are the spearhead for improving service delivery in preparation for NHI.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW705

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)When last did his department conduct oversight of the (a) academic programmes offered to and (b) living conditions of students studying in the Republic of Cuba as part of the Nelson Mandela-Fidel Castro Medical Collaboration Programme; (2) whether his department made any changes to the programme over the past five academic years; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details in each case; (3) what number of (a) students enrolled in the programme in every academic year since its inception and (b) the specified students graduated with a medical degree after completion of the programme?

Reply:

In order to respond to this Question, information must be sourced from the provinces. The Department is still in the process of sourcing this information and as soon as all the information is received, the Minister will provide the response to the Question.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW787

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

(a) What is the full list of health facilities that do not have the full capacity for anti-retroviral treatment for HIV/Aids in the Republic, (b)(i) what total number of patients are affected nationally by the lack of capacity to provide anti-retroviral treatment and (ii) in which facilities is this the case and (c) for what period did the specified patients not have access to prescribed medication?

Reply:

According to the Provincial Departments of Health in the country –

(a) Most (4,601 including hospitals, clinics, mobiles and correctional centres report to DHIS) facilities have full capacity for ART treatment for HIV/AIDS in the Republic. All primary health care facilities and hospitals have full capacity for anti-retroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS in the Republic. However, small facilities often do not have more than 1 person trained to provide anti-retroviral treatment. Mobile health facilities do not have the full capacity for ART.

The table below indicate the number of Mobile health facilities per province.

Province

Number of mobile health facilities

Eastern Cape

177

Free State

135

Gauteng

106

KwaZulu-Natal

193

Limpopo

144

Mpumalanga

114

Northern Cape

54

North West

54

Western Cape

174

TOTAL

1,151

Where, mobile clinic facilities are not providing service, clients are referred to the nearest facility that provides for this service.

(b) (i) No patients were turned away from health care facilities without ARV treatment.

(ii) No facilities were affected in the country.

(c) All patients who visited health facilities received ART.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW630

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

What steps has he taken in response to the Interim Report into Allegations of Racial Discrimination by Medical Schemes, released on 17 January 2021, that was undertaken by the section 59 Investigation Panel which was launched by the Council for Medical Schemes in 2019?

Reply:

The findings outlined in the Interim Report into Allegations of Racial Discrimination by Medical Schemes are very disconcerting. As part of the processes to better understand the findings, the recommendations emanating from these and also to determine the most appropriate actions required to ensure that the findings do not occur again, we had a briefing session with the Section 59 Panel on the 22nd December 2020. Given the nature of the findings and that the report is interim, there are no immediate actions being implemented. However, once all stakeholders have made their inputs and comments on the report and it is then finalised by the Panel, it is expected that the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) will submit the final report to the Department.

One of the proposed interventions identified in the Interim Report is that the Department has to ensure that the CMS and the Boards of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) determine the action plans they would be considering, particularly in relation to the Panel’s recommendations as to the two regulatory authorities and their areas of lack of oversight and guidance on matters pertaining to Fraud, Waste and Abuse. Additionally, it is expected that the CMS would investigate the provisions of Section 59 of the Medical Schemes Act, and where necessary propose legislative amendments (including supporting regulations) pertaining to schemes and administrators. This includes providing clear and consistent guidance to their regulated entities on current procedures followed by schemes to enforce their rights in terms of section 59 of the Act. I will also be requesting the CMS Board to provide me with regular updates on all actions taken to address the findings and progress on interventions implemented.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW783

Profile picture: Montwedi, Mr Mk

Montwedi, Mr Mk to ask the Minister of Health

With reference to the Mokgareng Clinic in Taung in the North West that has been without generic medications for a while now and does not even have a glucometer to assist diabetic patients, by what date does he intend to deliver basic resources and equipment to the specified clinic?

Reply:

According to the North West Provincial Department of Health, Mokgareng Clinic has never been without medicines.

The Clinic has enough glucometers to assist diabetic patients. There may be times when one glucometer may be without batteries and because there is enough of them, the staff is able to continue with the work while the dead batteries of one glucometer are being replaced. The National Department of Health, working with the Provincial Department and the District will continue to monitor medicine as well as equipment availability in all facilities including for Mokgareng Clinic.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW631

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

In view of the repeated statements by the Council for Medical Schemes that their failure to successfully regulate and execute their duty in relation to the private sector is prompted by the fact that they have a limited workforce of just above 120 employees, what steps will he take to resolve the crisis, noting that there are heaps of grievances from patients and consumers and that these are the same medical schemes being considered for facilitating the National Health Insurance?

Reply:

The functions and operations of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) are provided for in the provisions of the Medical Schemes Act (131 of 1998). The primary function of the CMS is to provide regulatory oversight over the medical schemes industry. The CMS’ annual performance plan, including the targets outlined in this plan, are developed and finalised by the CMS’ executive team in full consultation with the Board. These plans are intended to address the challenges that the industry is facing, especially beneficiaries. The budget for the CMS is determined through an analysis of the previous year’s expenditure including any emergent projects – this budget is based on the provisions of the CMS Levies Act (58 of 2000). The CMS budget is based on the quantum of the levy that they can raise based on the number of principal members registered with medical schemes; and the number of medical schemes members is causally linked to the level of economic growth and performance.

The resource constraints plaguing the CMS are multifaceted and include a funding model that is heavily reliant on levies, regulatory tariffs that have not kept pace with consumer price index increases over time and the overall poor performance of the economy in recent years. To assist the CMS in addressing their budgetary constraints, the National Department of Health has been engaging with CMS to develop a new funding model that is more sustainable and reduces reliance on the fiscus, innovatively minimises reliance on medical scheme member levies and progressively increases the quantum of the budget that comes from regulatory tariffs (i.e. fees charged for accreditation of administrators, managed care organisations and registration of schemes and rules). Other innovative revenue generation considerations include raising additional revenues from Board of Trustee and Principal Officer training sessions as well as from webinars and conferences.

 

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to correct the impression that Government is considering medical schemes for facilitating National Health Insurance (NHI). The administration of National Health Insurance (NHI) is not going to be outsourced. There is no contemplation of subcontracting any administrator/s or schemes to manage the affairs of the NHI Fund.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW704

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What number of students from each province currently participate in the Nelson Mandela-Fidel Castro Medical Collaboration Programme; (2) what are the details of the (a) current budget allocated to each student to complete their medical studies in full, (b)(i) full amount and (ii) breakdown of the full amount each student received for study fees, accommodation fees, living expenses, travel expenses, stipends and any other expense covered by the programme (aa) in each of the past five academic years and (bb) since 1 January 2021 and (c) total cost of completing a medical degree in this programme for each student in each of the specified academic years; (3) who or what entity in the Republic of Cuba (a) receives the funding from our Government to be disbursed to the students and (b) is responsible for disbursing the funding to the students?

Reply:

In order to respond to this Question, information must be sourced from the provinces. The Department is still in the process of sourcing this information and as soon as all the information is received, the Minister will provide the response to the Question.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW788

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

Notwithstanding his reply to question 27 on 25 February 2021 that COVID-19 related deaths are updated daily and that late reports and/or delays are updated subsequently upon collection of data, the excess deaths reported by the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) to have been COVID-19 related have not yet been added to the daily updates shared by him on public platforms and/or the information shared in relation to the report provided by the SAMRC (details furnished), (a) what are the reasons that he has not updated the daily statistics of COVID-19 deaths and (b) by what date will the specified reporting be done to truthfully reflect the death toll of COVID-19 related deaths?

Reply:

This question was previously responded to during a Portfolio Committee meeting. Nevertheless let us repeat our previous explanation as it suggests there is a lack of understanding of scientific terminology.

Excess deaths are typically defined as the difference between the total number of deaths reported in a specific time period and “expected” number of deaths in the same time periods.

The total number of deaths refers to the total number of people that died during a defined period of natural causes. The expected number of natural deaths is an estimate derived through modelling data, so it is not based on any confirmation of the actual cause of death. The model basically assumes that the trend in the number of deaths due to natural causes is similar to pre-COVID. Hence the excess deaths is an estimate as the difference between the total number of natural deaths and the estimated number of natural deaths. This exercise is useful for the purposes of assessing trends in mortality but cannot be used as an official statistics since it is based on an estimate. In the excess deaths estimate we cannot identify actual persons that may have died due to COVID.

(a) The Minister cannot update the official COVID death statistics based on an estimate of deaths. The official statistics is based on deaths of persons that are confirmed to have died due to COVID. This statistics is not an estimate.

(b) The official statistics of deaths due to COVID is an accurate representation of deaths in the country as each death reported is linked to the identity of a specific individual that died due to COVID. The excess deaths report from the MRC is an estimate that cannot be linked to the identity of a specific individual hence cannot form part of the official statistics.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW671

Profile picture: Marais, Mr EJ

Marais, Mr EJ to ask the Minister of Health

Whether (a) his department and/or (b) any entity reporting to him makes use of private security firms; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, in each case, what is the (i) name of each firm, (ii) purpose, (iii) value and (iv) duration of each specified contract?

Reply:

The following tables reflect the details in this regard.

NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (NDOH)

NAME OF COMPANY

PURPOSE OF CONTRACT

VALUE OF CONTRACT

DURATION OF CONTRACT

RRA TRADING

Security Guarding

R13 366 618.60

36 Months - All Forensic laboratories and MBOD/CCOD

(01 April 2020 – 31 March 2023)

12 Months - Civitas Building

( 01 April 2020 – 31 July 2021)

NATIONAL HEALTH LABOTORY SERVICE (NHLS)

NAME OF COMPANY

PURPOSE OF CONTRACT

VALUE OF CONTRACT

DURATION OF CONTRACT

Eldna Security Services

Not Applicable

(NHLS insourced the security from February and March 2018)

Not Applicable

Not Applicable

OFFICE OF HEALTH STANDARDS COMPLIANCE (OHSC)

NAME OF COMPANY

PURPOSE OF CONTRACT

VALUE OF CONTRACT

DURATION OF CONTRACT

Eldna Security Services

Security Guarding

R2 765 088.00

36 Months

(10 October 2020 – 10 October 2023)

SOUTH AFRICAN HEALTH PRODUCTS REGULATORY AUTHORITY (SAHPRA)

NAME OF COMPANY

PURPOSE OF CONTRACT

VALUE OF CONTRACT

DURATION OF CONTRACT

Tyeks Security Services

Security Guarding

In a process of procuring security service for 2021/2022 financial year

Not Applicable

SOUTH AFRICAN MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

NAME OF COMPANY

PURPOSE OF CONTRACT

VALUE OF CONTRACT

DURATION OF CONTRACT

Fidelity Services Group

Security Guarding

R 32 000 000.00

36 Months

(01 June 2019 – 31 May 2022)

END.

15 April 2021 - NW977

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)With reference to all the vaccines that have been procured by the Government, (a) what is the cost of each specified vaccine and (b) on what date will the (i) first and (ii) second phase roll-out of each vaccine (aa) begin and (bb) end; (2) whether transportation costs were charged for the delivery of each vaccine; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. (a) The agreements with manufacturers contain a confidentiality clause which precludes the sharing of contract terms. This includes the price of the vaccines. We have approached manufacturers to highlight the transparency requirements as enshrined in our constitution for the purposes of oversight. We hope that our representation would allow the Department to be released from the non-disclsoure clauses of the agreement.

(b) the first phase of the programme involves healthcare workers and commenced on the 17 February 2021 while the second phase is scheduled to start on the 17 May 2021. The groups targeted in each phase may be vaccinated in subsequent phases hence nobody will excluded from vaccination.

2. Transport costs are dependent on the Incoterms contained in the contract. In these contracts the manufacturers will be responsible for transportation of vaccines to South Africa. Once in the country, the Department of Health is responsible for warehousing and distribution costs of vaccines.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW981

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What (a) is the percentage of vacant posts currently in state hospitals in each province and (b) number of chief executive officers are still in an acting capacity; (2) whether he will furnish Ms H Ismail with a full report on the infrastructure upgrades of state hospitals in each province; if not, why not; if so, on what date?

Reply:

The following information is as received from the Provincial Departments of Health.

1. (a) The overall percentage (%) rate for vacant posts in state hospitals in each province is 13%. The table below indicates the percentage (%) of vacant posts in Government Hospitals per Province as at end February 2021.

Province

% Vacant posts in Hospitals

Eastern Cape

13%

Free State

21%

Gauteng

11%

KwaZulu Natal

14%

Limpopo Province

7%

Mpumalanga

12%

North West

14%

Northern Cape

17%

Western Cape

15%

Overall Total

13%

2. The total number of Chief Executive Officers in acting positions is 64. The table below illustrates numbers per Province.

Total acting CEOs per Province

Province

Acting CEO's

Eastern Cape

14

Free State

6

Gauteng

10

KwaZulu Natal

 -

Limpopo Province

11

Mpumalanga

7

North West

7

Northern Cape

7

Western Cape

2

Overall Total

64

The National Department of Health (NDoH) acknowledges the reported number of acting Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) as high. As a result, the Director-General has written letters to the Provincial Heads of Health Departments to prioritise the appointment of experienced eligible candidates permanently to the positions of CEOs at their earliest convenience to ensure stability and service delivery continuity in the affected Hospitals.

(2) A full report on the infrastructure upgrades of state hospitals in each province is herewith attached as Annexure 1.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW982

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)How will the element of corruption be addressed in respect of the (a) distribution of vaccines and (b) vaccination process; (2) in view of the statement by the President, Mr M C Ramaphosa, that Black Economic Empowerment opportunities will be available during the vaccine roll-out, how is the element of corruption envisaged to be (a) addressed and (b) eliminated in the process?

Reply:

1. The Department has put in place mechanisms to eradicate any element of corruption during the vaccine roll-out through the implementation of policies and legislative framework governing the distribution of medicines

a) The National Department of Health (NDoH) has been guided by National Treasury in the procurement for services related to the warehousing and distribution of vaccines. An open bidding process was followed to contract appropriate service providers for the warehousing and distribution of vaccines. Being a specialized supply chain, service providers were required to meet specific criteria aligned to the requirements in the Medicines and Related Substances Act.

b) All vaccination sites will be required to meet specific criteria, aligned to the requirements in the Medicines and Related Substances Act as well as the Pharmacy Act. In addition, where private sector service providers are contracted, the relevant requirements in terms of the procurement policies of the NDoH will be followed.

2. (a) The NDoH conforms to its policy and delegations on procurement of goods and services. The selection of service provider in the Central Supplier Database (CSD) albeit being done manually, a criterion for selection is enforced through various filtering fields in the system i.e. per province, district, local municipality, town/ city-based and BEE status.

Officials that are involved in the procurement process are made to complete all necessary declaration forms for confidentiality and business interests. This enables officials to disclose upfront if they have people they know who may lead to the procurement process being compromised. Officials who are found to be linked to any business interests are recused from the procurement process. The Department further ensures that segregation of duties and authority levels within the department are adhered to. The NDOH provides transparency in the entire procurement cycle in order to promote fair and equitable treatment of potential suppliers.

The Department further maximizes transparency in competitive tendering process and takes precautionary measures to enhance integrity and ensure accountability for public funds expenditure. The Department also strives to ensure that procurement officials meet high professional standards in knowledge, skills and integrity and establish responsibility along with control mechanisms in order to avoid any corrupt activity.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW911

Profile picture: Montwedi, Mr Mk

Montwedi, Mr Mk to ask the Minister of Health

What (a) total (i) number of cases of medical negligence have been submitted to his department over the past five years and (ii) amount has it cost his department to settle the specified claims and (b) has he found are the root causes of the proliferation of the cases of medical negligence?

Reply:

In order to respond to this Question, information must be sourced from the provinces. The Department is still in the process of sourcing this information and as soon as all the information is received, the Minister will provide the response to the Question.

END.

15 April 2021 - NW625

Profile picture: Madlingozi, Mr BS

Madlingozi, Mr BS to ask the Minister of Health

Whether the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is being used to vaccinate persons is still part of a study; if not, is it a roll-out of an approved vaccine; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

Yes, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is currently being used to vaccinate healthcare workers is still part of a study.

The vaccine was used in a large international Phase 3 study which enrolled nearly 40,000 participants. The study showed that, in South Africa where we have the 501Y.V2 variant, the vaccine reduced severe disease by 81.7% and moderate disease by 64%. The Phase 3a study provided evidence of efficacy and safety of the vaccine. Because there is often a time lapse between a Phase 3 study being successfully completed, and the registration of a product for use outside of a clinical trial, an open label study is often used to bridge this gap. Phase 3b studies, the context in which this vaccine is being used, allows for early access to the vaccine and also enables the collection of additional data on safety, efficacy and how to introduce a new product. In a phase 3b study, although evidence of safety and efficacy is confirmed, informed consent must be obtained. In a phase 3b study, placebo is not used in the study and does not involve experimentation with any unproven vaccines.

A medicine is registered based on the evidence of safety and efficacy obtained from Phase 3 studies. The use of a registered medicine does not require informed consent, although as with any medicine, patients must understand what the vaccine is for, whether there are any specific side effects, and they must be willing to take it.

A phase 3b study and a vaccine roll-out both involve wide-scale implementation of Covid-19 vaccines, they differ only insofar as the type of regulatory approval required as well as the informed consent and information collected from those being vaccinated

END.

15 April 2021 - NW848

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

What (a) is the percentage of posts currently vacant in State hospitals and (b) is the current recovery rate of COVID-19 patients with comorbidities in each province?

Reply:

(a)​  The overall percentage (%) rate for vacant posts in State Hospitals is 13%. The table below indicates the (%) rate of vacant posts in State Hospitals per Province as at end February 2021.

Province

% Vacant posts in Hospitals

Eastern Cape

13%

Free State

21%

Gauteng

11%

KwaZulu Natal

14%

Limpopo Province

7%

Mpumalanga

12%

North West

14%

Northern Cape

17%

Western Cape

15%

Overall Total

13%

(b) The recovery rate of COVID-19 patients without comorbidities reported as at 14 April 2021 is as below, please note that the comorbidities indicator is not covered as the current reporting classification does not include it:

 

PROVINCE

TOTAL RECOVERIES

 

14 April 2021

Eastern Cape

184,064

Free State

79,579

Gauteng

405,110

KwaZulu-Natal

319,830

Limpopo

60,970

Mpumalanga

74,225

North West

61,631

Northern Cape

33,215

Western Cape

268,249

Total

1,486,873

END

15 April 2021 - NW893

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Ms MD

Hlengwa, Ms MD to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether, with reference to the administration of the first batch of vaccines (details furnished), he has been engaging with the medical aid companies, particularly those whose apparent current stance is that they do not carry liability in law for side effects and adverse effects of medicine administration and this would apply to the vaccine on the same basis; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether members of medical aid schemes qualify for medical care for conditions that are a result of vaccine side-effects; if not, why not; if so, (3) what is his department’s position with regard to the no-fault compensation fund mentioned by the Finance Minister in his recent Budget Speech?

Reply:

1. The engagements with the medical schemes industry have been coordinated and managed by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), which is the body mandated with oversight of the industry as per the provisions of the Medical Schemes Act (No. 131 of 1998). One of the core provisions of the Act is the need for all medical schemes to cover Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs), except for those that have applied and qualified for specific exemptions. By definition, PMBs are a set of predefined conditions which, anyone who is part of a medical scheme, no matter what benefit option they are on, can receive treatment for 270 hospital-based and 25 chronic conditions, and the price of these will be covered in full. The aim of PMB cover is to ensure that the wellbeing and health of South African medical scheme members is safeguarded, and that private healthcare is more affordable. PMBs also cover any kind of emergency treatment and include certain out-of-hospital treatments.

To ensure that the population is adequately covered for COVID-19, the CMS included it as part of the PMB conditions in May 2020. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines were also included as a benefit in December 2020. These two inclusions were done in concurrence between the Minister of Health and the Council for Medical Schemes in line with the provisions of the Act. This essentially implies that each medical scheme is compelled to cover the full costs of testing, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of COVID-19 related conditions. This also includes covering all clinical adverse events as well as any complications that may arise because of being inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

2. All medical schemes are legally obliged through the amendments that have been made to the PMB regulations to cover the full costs of any side effects that their members may experience due to having being inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

3. There are several requirements when governments and or international entities engage with manufacturers and suppliers of vaccines globally. In the engagements that we have been having regarding access to and supply of COVID-19 vaccines, some of the core requirements include the need for countries to make (a) upfront payments for vaccines prior to receiving delivery of their orders; (b) compliance with all contractual confidentiality clauses for a period of up to 10 years; (c) the establishment of No-Fault Compensation systems to indemnify manufacturers from any adverse events that may occur as a result of administering the vaccines; (d) the demand for Ministers to sign contracts and not DGs; and (e) the change in delivery terms without negotiating with the purchasing country and no penalties to be imposed in instances where that occurs.

The National Department of Health is in full support of the no-fault compensation fund mentioned by the Finance Minister in his recent Budget Speech. To this effect, the Department has initiated a few actions to support the expedited establishment of the no-fault compensation fund. We are proposing the establishment of a National Immunisation Safety Committee (NISEC) to be chaired by a Retired Judge. The NISEC would be charged with determining causality in terms of the adverse events. It would be supported by an Adjudication Committee which will look into the severity of the injury suffered by the claiming party and also determine the appropriate level of compensation. An Appeals Committee will also be created to handle all appeals and an Administrator would be in place to manage all matters pertaining to records keeping, communication with claimants, processing and payment of claims and all other relevant administration matters. The administration could be under an entity similar to SASRIA. Standard operating procedures would be in place to follow clear steps that ensure appropriate adjudication of claims, and also providing opportunity for claimants to accept or reject the recommended compensation.

END.

17 March 2021 - NW412

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

What are the relevant details of the exact process that ordinary citizens should follow when registering for the COVID-19 vaccination?

Reply:

The Electronic Vaccination System is built to be agile and responsive to the Vaccine Roll-out programme within the principles of inclusion – the system should not be excluding anyone that wants to be vaccinated. The registration system for beneficiaries is built to respond to the phases of the Vaccine Rollout programme and the sequencing of the population within the phases.

The enormity and importance of the vaccination programme requires that the administration of vaccines be appropriately captured and monitored. The Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) has been developed to capture vaccination events digitally and provide data to its data analytics platform to monitor and report on vaccinations.

The EVDS, which is a web-based application accessible through multiple devices, including mobile and desktop devices, is critical to the success of the vaccine roll-out programme. It should be noted that although digital systems will be used and all vaccinations will be digitally recorded, those without access to digital technology must not and will not be excluded. All steps of the vaccination process will also be available through walk-in services where members of the public will be assisted for registration.

To streamline the vaccination, process a vaccination beneficiary register is required. A pre-vaccination registration functionality forms part of the EVDS., This pre-registration component of the EVDS is providing the public with two options for registration, i.e Self-Registration and Assisted Registration:

  • The Self Registration will require the members of the Public as identified per phase and sequencing to log into a web portal and register themselves;
  • For those members of the public that do not have the means and ability to do self-registration, the function of assisted registration will be made available in walk in centres and at vaccination sites.

END.

17 March 2021 - NW252

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

Whether there is any research that states and shows where variant 501.V2 of the novel coronavirus is more prevalent and less prevalent; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details on compiled research on the (a) prevalence of variant 501.V2 first recorded in the Republic in each (i) province, (ii) region and (iii) district in graph form and (b) total number of (i) infections and/or (ii) deaths as reflected in each case?

Reply:

The laboratory assessments indicate that the variant is more prevalent, now. The prevalence of the variant grew from 11% in October 2020 to 98% in February 2021.

a) The prevalence of the variant is consistent across all provinces sampled, KZN (>95%), EC (>95%), WC (>95%), NC (>90%), GP (>80%). Reports from neighbouring countries suggest that the prevalence of the variant is similar to South Africa.

b) (i) number of infections with the 501Y.V2 variant will be similar to the number of infections in the population, given that the variant has a prevalence > 90%.

(ii) There is no evidence to suggest that the variant is more deadly than the previous lineage. It is more transmissible hence more people are infected. Even though the proportion of people hospitalised (compared to being infected) has not changed - the number of hospitalisations and deaths has been higher due to a greater number of people being infected. There has been no reported difference in the clinical response to usual treatment.

The graph below provides the temporal emergence of the 501Y.V2 (B.1.351) variant

 

Table 1: The temporal emergence of 501Y.V2 (B.1.351) variant in SA over time

END.

11 March 2021 - NW533

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Which vaccines will be rolled out to health-care specialists as compared to citizens; (2) whether he will furnish Ms H Ismail with the full list of the names of the suppliers of the vaccines; (3) whether he has found that his department has sufficient cold storage facilities to store the incoming vaccines effectively; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) whether he will furnish Ms H Ismail with a list of essential workers who will be prioritised for the vaccines?

Reply:

1. We are currently providing healthcare workers with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Thereafter we will access the Pfizer vaccine for healthcare workers and persons eligible for phase 2. The commercial stock of Johnson and Johnson vaccines will become available in mid quarter two. Thereafter the rollout programme will be based on these two vaccines;

2. Johnson&Johnson Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals;

3. A team has been investigating the cold storage capacity in South Africa and has been able to quantify the storage capacity across the country. The Johnson&Johnson vaccine is stored at fridge temperature for which there is adequate storage capacity. The Pfizer vaccine is stored at -70 degrees hence there is need for specialised storage facilities which we have secured. The team has been planning the logistics related to the storage, delivery and administration for each of the vaccines. South Africa has a vaccine programme that delivers close to 20m doses of vaccines annually so there is existing infrastructure, systems and human resources. This programme is on a much larger scale however vaccinations are not new for the department. 

4. The Department did provide an initial list of essential workers  that would make up phase two which included civil servants in particular sectors of the economy. Subsequently we have received representation from a number of sectors motivating for inclusion as essential workers. We are engaging with these matters and will provide a final list in the next couple of weeks.

END.