Health system under the spotlight at Presidential Health Summit

Government will this week convene the second Presidential Health Summit to conduct a review of the implementation of the interventions agreed to during the 2018 summit and assess the performance of the health system against the Presidential Health Compact.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the government delegation to the two-day summit, which will be held in Boksburg from 04 to 05 May 2023.

The Department of Health said the summit will bring together key stakeholders from various constituencies within the health sector to identify alternative and sustainable interventions to ensure that measures are in place to implement the mechanisms that have not yet been implemented to recover towards the targets not yet attained.

“The summit will also serve as a platform for government to assess the readiness of the health system to implement the National Health Insurance (NHI) and identify urgent measures needed to recalibrate the system and accelerate the NHI reforms, and synthesize international experiences and shape approaches for moving closer to building health systems resilience in the South African context,” the department said in a statement.

Presidential Heath Compact

President Ramaphosa launched the country’s Presidential Health Compact in 2019. It lays down a five-year roadmap for health systems strengthening reforms under the ‘nine pillars’ towards accelerating Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in South Africa.

The Presidential Health Compact originated from months of extensive consultative deliberations between key stakeholders following the Presidential Health Summit in October 2018.

The stakeholders included government, health and allied health professionals, labour, the business community, academics and researchers, statutory bodies, traditional health practitioners and public health entities. WHO provided essential technical advice and support in development of the Presidential Health Compact.

The premise was that the health system cannot be fixed by the Health Department alone, but requires a focused, holistic and collaborative approach

The compact, signed by the President, Health Minister and representatives from various stakeholder groups, outlines the roles of all key stakeholder groups in implementation of critical tasks related to UHC and NHI in South Africa.

These include updating the quality improvement plans, development of Human Resources for Health (HRH) operational plan, improving public finance management, access to essential medicines, upgrading infrastructure, and use of information technology through public private partnerships for upscaling initiatives aimed at strengthening health systems

The Presidential Health Compact will be instrumental in accelerating progress towards UHC over next five years.

Dr Brian Chirombo, who was then Acting World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to South Africa, said the implementation of the compact is expected to contribute significantly towards improving the healthcare system in the country leading to many more South Africans having access to quality health services.

“We believe that it is the path to South Africa’s acceleration towards Universal Health Coverage, which will ensure that the country contributes to Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 3 on Health, aimed at ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages,” Chirombo said at the time

Source: South African Government News Agency

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