South Africa would only achieve health for all through sustained and focused involvement from all sectors of the community, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said at the closing of the government's two-day Health Summit 2001 on Tuesday.
She was speaking at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg shortly after accepting an official copy of the World Health Organisation's Mental Health Report from visiting representative Dr Benedetto
Tshabalala-Msimang thanked Saraceno and said the WHO's recommendations were in line with the SA government's policy of striving for better healthcare for all citizens.
In her closing address, the Health Minister said she would recommend to the Director-General of Health the formation of a task team comprised of Health Department participants and representatives from different sectors including trade unions, professional associations, the private health sector and academic institutions.
Government's performance remains key to improving healthcare, but complementary and co-ordinated action by many other stakeholders is critical, she said.
The government had made some important progress towards promoting equitable access to health service, particularly through the distribution of health facilities and staff and removal of fees for primary care services.
However, Tshabalala-Msimang said, there was still much work to be done.
The most glaring challenge facing our health system is the disparity in the resources available to public and private sector relative to the population each serves.
Government could not handle the challenge alone and the two sectors would have to work hand in hand and combine resources to meet the health needs of all South Africans in a more equitable and efficient manner.
She made a commitment to delegates attending the Summit that the creation of a forum to facilitate partnerships between the public and private sectors would be attended to soon.
In my view quality of care cannot be achieved by measures imposed by government without active participation of all the stakeholders, she said.
Meanwhile, as part of government's efforts to improve quality of care, as from 2002 it would launch national awards for outstanding service
for different health sector workers and professionals.
Source: SAPA, 20 November 2001
Closing address, the address by President
Thabo Mbeki and the Minister's
Opening address is available on the Department
of Health's Website.