11 May 2009

SA ready for Confederations Cup

The health ministry said it had met almost all health requirements for holding the Fifa Confederation's Cup next month.

The health ministry said it had met almost all health requirements for holding the Fifa Confederation's Cup next month.

"We are ready," said Deputy Health Minister Molefi Sefularo. Sefularo said South Africa was ready to provide a comprehensive medical service, including 24-hour emergency medical treatment and disaster management. "The three provinces hosting the Confederations Cup have reported a satisfactory level of readiness, covering 90%," he told reporters in Pretoria. Gauteng, Free State and North West would host the Confederations Cup in June.

Fifa happy with progress
He said if Fifa was not happy about the progress made so far, the media would be the first to know. "Generally, we are happy with our progress so far, and we have not received any concern from Fifa suggesting otherwise." He said in the next two weeks the department would visit provinces to assist them with any outstanding issues.

The department had to ensure South Africa was up to scratch in areas such as environmental health, port health, communicable disease control, health promotion, emergency medical services, forensic pathology, forensic medicine and biochemical.

With regard to the Confederations Cup, Sefularo said the hosting provinces had reported a satisfactory level of readiness for communicable disease, emergency medical service, environmental health, port health, hospitals - as well as command and control centres.

Prepared for swine flu outbreak
Sefularo said South Africa was prepared to respond in the event there was an outbreak of H1N1 flu (swine flu). "It is encouraging that so far our country and the region have not had a single confirmed case."

Sefularo said it would be unfortunate if doctors were to strike again during the Confederations Cup, even though this would not have a direct impact on the soccer event. "Private doctors and military medical services will be roped in," he said.

Laboratory will test for doping
Dr Victor Ramathesele from the Local Organising Committee said a laboratory to test players' blood and urine for drugs and other banned substance would be based in Bloemfontein.

"The laboratory will be able to accept urine and blood sample, and issue results with in 24 hours as required by international and Fifa standards," he said. The Fifa medical team would be in charge of doping, he said.

Ramathesele said teams had been advised to ensure their players received a vaccine for the seasonal flu before arriving in South Africa. "The Confederations Cup and World Cup will for the first time played in winter, hence we advised teams about the seasonal flu."

State and private hospitals
State and private hospitals would be used for the Confederation Cup and World Cup. In Rustenburg, the hospitals involved were Job Tabane hospital, Moses Kotane hospital (in Ledig), Bafokeng health centre (in Phokeng), Ferncrest hospital and Peglerae hospital. In Pretoria, it would be the Steve Biko Memorial hospital (formerly Pretoria Academic) supported by Kalafong (in Atteridgeville) and Dr George Mukhari hospital (in Ga-Rankuwa). In Johannesburg Chris Hani Baragwanath and Charlotte Maxeke hospitals would be used. – (Sapa, May 2009)

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