Today marks a very important day in our 25 years of health in South Africa. The public and private healthcare sector leaders and professionals converged in honour of post-graduate and medical doctors from various healthcare disciplines at an event held at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.
The Ministers of Health and Higher Education presided over this event of great consequence following a social compact between the National Department of Health and 22 Healthcare Companies signed on 8th November 2012, to improve the delivery of healthcare, address debilitating diseases and improve accessibility to medical schools for disadvantaged communities.
“We are trying to reverse the damage caused by Bantu education and other disadvantages,” Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi had stated as he signed the agreement five years ago, having convened a group of 22 CEOs in the health sector to focus their attention on building human capital for the country. The Public Health Enhancement Fund (PHEF) was subsequently designed for the production of post graduates in health, especially at PhD level to improve health research.
The objective of the Public Health Enhancement Fund is threefold:
- Train hospital CEOs
- Recruit and train PhDs (especially in HIV and TB research) to boost innovation and research capacity
- Increase the number of medical students from rural areas.
To this end, three programmes were mutually agreed between the National Department of Health and the 22 private companies, who set up a vehicle called the joint PHEF (Public Health Enhancement Fund), which would fund the programmes. This programme includes the National Health Scholars Programme (NHSP), and is a partnership between the PHEF, the NDoH and the South African Research Medical Council (SAMRC). The SAMRC administers the NHSP, the programme has produced 47 graduates (87% of which are PhDs) in various health professions.
The NHSP, which was chaired by the late Professor Bongani Mayosi, is a national asset and flagship programme for advancing the next generation of African health and clinical scientists. He championed the scholarship programme together with Minister Motsoaledi.
In honour of one of major contributions towards health transformation, Professor Mayosi was honoured for his immense contributions and lasting legacy by renaming the programme to the “Bongani Mayosi National Health Scholars Programme”. It was also unveiled by the two Ministers with the heads of medical schools and provincial health, also in attendance.
To further demonstrate this public-private partnership (PPP) as a critical element to nation building, social cohesion and improved healthcare outcomes, an initial R40 million was injected into the joint fund to finance the Social Compact to fund training and mentorship for aspiring medical students from disadvantaged communities. The allocation also included the training of PhDs and Master’s degrees with much focus on HIV/AIDS and TB. To date, over R200 million has been contributed to the fund by the partners, to ensure better health outcomes.
As a result of this partnership, 20 post-graduate medical doctors graduated with PhD and Masters, which demonstrates what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together to address inequities in the healthcare system. A total of 107 post-graduate medical doctors (60 Masters and 47 PhDs) who have benefited from the programme since its inception. They are expected to contribute to the overall research and innovation capacity of the country, and to service constrained communities - a success story of the transformation of healthcare system.
The private sector companies involved in the fund include the following Pharmaceutical, Hospital, Diagnostic, Corporate, Healthcare supply chain and Medical scheme administration industries:
- ABBOTT DIAGNOSTICS
- ABBOTT PHARMA
- ASPEN PHARMACARE
- CLINIX HEALTH GROUP
- INOVA PHARMA
- JANSSEN CILAG
- LIFE HEALTHCARE
- NEW CLICKS RETAILERS
- NOVO NORDISK
- ROCHE DIAGNOSTICS
- ROCHE PRODUCTS (PTY) LTD
In his keynote address, Minister Motsoaledi iterated the importance of the public-private partnership. He said that: “It is therefore crystal clear that we must build human capital to ensure that we are not left behind and I am pleased that the Public Health Enhancement Fund has been very productive and that today we can announce what we have achieved to date. I want to acknowledge the contribution of Prof Mayosi who was the first chair of the selection committee.”
For more information, please contact:
Mr Popo Maja: Spokesperson
Ministry of Health
Mobile: 072 585 3219/082 373 1169
Tel: +27 71 214 5272