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South Africa: Today’s Feature: Motsoaledi Launches Academy to Ensure Excellence in Health
Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
Source Date: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs
Country: South Africa
Created: Nov 08, 2012

The academy will address skills gaps at all levels, including clinical and hospital management.

This follows a study commissioned by Motsoaledi in 2011 to review competency levels of hospital CEOs, which revealed that a significant proportion did not have the requisite leadership and management competencies. The review was a move towards overhauling the health system in South Africa.

The academy will focus on among others, the following strategic tasks:

- develop a national management and leadership competence framework for the health sector based on a needs analysis;
- undertake a competency assessment of key post holders (using existing assessments such as DBSA) and develop a ‘gap analysis’ for leadership and management development and strategy to address weaknesses;
- develop an inventory of health leadership and management training capacity within and outside the health sector;
- define training and development interventions/ programme requirements for leadership and management for the health sector, for in-service training and HEI professional/career training;
- accredit providers and commission providers which can offer training in management and leadership for the health sector (these should include HEI’s, private institutions and organisations, international HEI’s and organisations);
- ensure competency requirements are implemented for appointments to leadership and management positions in the health sector; and
- monitor the outcome and impact of commissioned in-service training and career programmes offered through HEI’s and other training service providers.

During the launch on Tuesday, the minister introduced 13 members of the advisory committee for the academy, led by Professor Marian Jacobs, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town.

The advisory committee is yet to decide where the academy will be located.

Motsoaledi explained that the department was not establishing a university, but a virtual institution of training which will work to accredit people who are already trained by a university.

The CEOs will go through the process of induction at the academy and be taught the responsibilities and functions of a CEO of a hospital. This will begin from January 2013.

“Many of them don’t necessarily know what do they do on a weekly basis, what do they [should] do in the dispensary, in the ward, in terms of financial management … about procurement, equipment, maintenance - this academy is going to be training people specifically in that,” said the minister.

The department had recently advertised 97 CEO positions and 367 candidates were shortlisted. Two have been appointed in two provinces, while the rest of the appointments are expected to be completed by the end of December.

Criteria for the appointments include a health background and at least five years’ experience in management.

For Deputy Director Generals and district managers in the departments of health, the process was different in that they would be able to attend courses at any of the provincial institutions, not necessarily the academy.

They would need to have done the courses and be trained in health care management before the board assesses whether they are competent in terms of the training they have received and whether they can be accredited and can become district managers of health.

Professor Eric Buch, Dean and Professor of Health Policy and Management and one of the advisory committee members, said the establishment of the academy was a giant step forward for health leadership and management in the country.

“It will take time to unfold fully and for its impact to be fully felt, but we are moving to a situation where the country and the public can be confident that the CEOs of the hospitals, district health managers and executives will be competent and can fulfil the functions required in the public health system.”

He said there would be clear competencies and teaching methods that prepare them specifically for the unique challenges of managing, operationally and at an executive strategic level in the health sector.

Another advisory committee member, Lord Nigel Crisp, who is the member of the House of Lords in the UK congratulated South Africa for setting up the academy, emphasising that efforts to get the leadership and management right at every level was a fantastic initiative.

“This is the start. The academy’s role is to ensure that South Africa, with the ambitious plans for the future of health care in this country, that you are able to ensure that you’ve got the leadership and management that you deserve.

“I hope we could bring a few lessons and experiences from elsewhere to help the country on the great journey it embarked on,” said Lord Crisp.
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