President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed the much anticipated Presidential Health Compact during a ceremony held at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital on 25 July 2019. Joined by the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize and other key role players in the health sector, Ramaphosa lauded the signing of the health compact and said it heralds a new dawn for the people of South Africa as it will ensure one country, one health system.
“The signing of the Presidential Health Compact is the culmination of a long journey we have traveled together since we convened the Presidential Health Summit last year to find solutions to the crisis facing our health system”, emphasised the President.
The health summit aptly characterized the health situation in the country to be in a state of crisis.
“It is fitting that we are signing this historic accord here at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital where a groundbreaking and difficult operation to separate conjoined twins was performed in 2017 in collaboration with staff from the Nelson Mandela Children’s hospital and a number of private sector doctors”, said President Ramaphosa.
He further stated that the successful completion of the operation cemented the good reputation of so many of the public hospitals that goes unrecognized.
The President further reminded those who attended that the hospital is also the teaching facility for the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, the first health sciences University established in post- apartheid South Africa.
“The Sefako Makgatho University campus was once the campus of the Medical University of South Africa known as Medunsa.
More than half of all African medical doctors and dentists in Southern Africa were trained at Medunsa, and no doubt many of them are among us today”, he continued.
Additionally, President Ramaphosa paid tribute to those who walked through the doors of Medunsa(now SMU) for having been trail blazers and paving the way for the young professionals who now continue to make a difference in the lives of the citizens. The health compact has identified nine(9) pillars that require to be strengthed to improve the health system in the country. They are as follows :
1. Augment human resources
2. Ensure improved access to essential medicines, vaccines and medical products through better management
3. Execute the infrastructure plan to ensure adequate, appropriately distributed and well maintained health facilities
4. Engaging the private sector in improving the access, coverage and quality of health services
5. Improve the quality, safety and quantity of health services provided with a focus to primary health care.
6. Improve the efficiency of public sector financial management systems and processes.
7. Strengthen governance and leadership to improve oversight, accountability and systems performance at all levels.
8. Engage and empower the community to ensure adequate and appropriate community based care
9. Develop an information system that will guide the health system policies, strategies and investment.
By Phaladi Seakgwe