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South Africa: Partnership Shows New Ways to Support Health
Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201211170216.html
Source Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: South Africa
Created: Dec 11, 2012

The signing of a social compact for health improvement between 23 private sector health companies and the national Department of Health last week is historic and over-shadows the differences that exist between the two. The private sector health companies have committed R40 million rand towards the creation of a Joint Public Health Enhancement Fund that will help government train 100 additional doctors, develop management expertise among health professionals and fund local research in HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis over the next three years. If successful, the spin-off could be that the partnership could be replicated in other public service sectors.
“This type of public-private partnership has never been tried anywhere else in the country. It’s the first time that this type of model has been tried in health care. And I suspect if this is successful, which we have every reason to believe it will be, then this could be a model that could be replicated in other parts of the economy and in other industries, certainly”, says Stavros Nicolaou, the chief executive officer for drug manufacturing company, Aspen Pharmacare, one of the signatories in the social compact for health.
The partnership comes at a time when traditional funders - largely foreign countries, corporations and organisations - are cutting back on health funding for developing nations. This initiative could well prove as an inspiration to donors who are pulling out, says Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba, the executive director for Discovery Health, another signatory to the compact.
“There is nothing that inspires international partners to land a helping hand than when they also see that all the forces domestically are trying to do what they need to do. So, the first point is it’s important for the private health sector to partner with government because that gives encouragement to the internal co-operative partners. But, also, it does something else. We’ve just gone through a global economic crisis. We know many countries are re-considering their support for many other countries for very good legitimate reasons because of the troubles at home. Where we’ve got a country like South Africa which, actually, can mobilise a lot of domestic resources – as long as we are able to straddle the divide between the public and the private sector – it seems to me that it is extremely wise for us not to replace one form with the other because these things are all complementary”, Ntsaluba says.
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