Health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has established a fund in partnership with 23 of South Africa's largest private medical aid, pharmacy, drug and hospital companies in an effort to bolster human resource capacity in the public sector.
The SA Joint Public Health Enhancement Fund (SAJPHEF) will receive a fixed annual contribution from the individual private sector companies – a total of R40-million in 2013. The money will mainly be targeted at training more healthcare professionals, especially potential doctors recruited from poor communities, bolstering the capacity to train these professionals, building management capacity and funding interventions in HIV/AIDS and TB.
Describing the event as a "social compact", Motsoaledi said yesterday (THURS) in Pretoria that it was set to herald a new standard for collaboration between the public and private sectors.
"It is my hope that this compact will propel us on a trajectory of a greater and deeper co-operation, notwithstanding any differences we might have at times on specific issues," Motsoaledi said.
Contributors to the fund include among others Abbott, Clicks Holdings, Discovery, Dischem, Medi-Clinic, Medscheme, Netcare, Roche and United Pharmaceutical Distributors.
The R40-million for 2013 will be divided into three projects.
A total of R20-million has been earmarked for the expansion of the medical doctor intake at universities. It is envisaged that it will later be expanded to include pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and other critical categories.
The funds will be used for bursaries as well as support at institutional level to ensure that needy students are well supported and provided with the best chance of succeeding.
A further R10-million will be used to establish the Academy for Leadership and Management in Health launched earlier this week by Motsoaledi. The Academy aims to enhance technical, management and leadership skills at hospital, clinic and district level.
The balance, R10-million, will be used to support Phd and Masters studies in the biomedical, clinical and health systems fields, but specifically how it relates to HIV/AIDS and TB.