Afghan women sit beside their newborns at the Doctors Without Borders (MSF)-run maternity hospital in Khost

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla thanked the German Development Bank (KfW) for sending a multimillion-rand worth of equipment as a donation.

Speaking at the official handover of the equipment at the Town Hill Hospital on Thursday, the minister said that this donation will help the South African government to strengthen the public health system.

"Today is one of the most exciting days for the National Department of Health and the provincial departments as we formally acknowledge the support we received from the German government, through the German Development Bank and the DG Murray Trust," Phaahla said, SA News reported.

The minister recalled that German and South African governments have enjoyed a very fruitful relationship across several departments over the years.

During the handover ceremony, Phaahla was joined by the German Ambassador to South Africa Andreas Peschke, Deputy Health Minister Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo, KwaZulu-Natal Member of the Executive Council for Health Nomagugu Simelane along with leaders from local government and DG Murray Trust.

The donated equipment worth R500 million includes specialized vaccine fridges, vaccine carriers, temperature monitoring devices, notebooks, tablets and mobile health clinics.

The minister said the 46 mobile clinics, dubbed as #Keready, have played an important role in changing people's lives, reaching out to 1.9 million South Africans with direct interpersonal interactions.

Phaahla further said that he will be working with the Members of the Executive Council to sustain and maintain this equipment when the funding comes to an end in September of this year.

These mobile units are being operated in four provinces including Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal by professional nurses, communicators and local mobilizers supported by the #KeReady doctors.

"These units are serving as the bedrock of our campaign to get closer to the youth community and highlight the challenges that face youth life," the minister said.

The minister recalled the support from Germany during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic for helping the vulnerable communities in the informal settlements.

"We thank you for the precise, strategic and tailored programs you brought into our primary healthcare ecosystem," he said. "Ambassador, we recognize that you give our people a hand to uplift them out of poverty, instead of once-off hand-outs which are not sustainable."

Last week, Deputy Minister of Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo urged South Africans to exercise caution and maintain personal hygiene amid the detection of two confirmed cholera cases.