Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has called for a more even-handed distribution of resources between the public and private sector in order to
achieve improved healthcare in South Africa.
Speaking at the launch of the South African Institute of Healthcare Managers (SAIHM) in Johannesburg yesterday, the minister said South Africa spent
approximately 8.5% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on the health sector.
Given the percentage of GDP spent on the health sector in general, we should compete favourably with other countries based on the indicators of
the health systems as per the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Millennium Goals.
However, she said health outcomes in the country were not as good as the amount of resources put into this sector.We still have a major challenge in the unbalanced distribution of these
resources. About 60% of health resources is spent on the private sector which caters for about 20% of our population, said the minister.
The SAIHM aims to enhance and promote high standards of professional health management by providing and supporting the education and training of all
It will also establish a programme of continuing professional development to ensure that managers maintain their competence levels for service delivery.
Some of the key focus areas for the institute will be to create and maintain a professional community of healthcare managers, to promote and maintain the
professional integrity of the members and to contribute towards policy development, setting of standards and monitoring of health management.
We are setting up an institution aimed at improving the quality of healthcare and provision of services that are efficient and effective. Our
focus is on making sure that quality healthcare is accessible to all South Africans, said the minister.
She said this was important in the endeavour to address the challenge of
inequity as it brings together both the public and private health sector. Furthermore the minister added that South Africa needed health managers who
were visionaries and who understood the diversity of healthcare delivery.
Good managers are those who understand the historical and critical need to bridge the gaps between the rich and the poor and between rural and urban as
an important element in the process of improving the quality of life of our people.
The institute is open to all health managers working at different levels and in all health sectors. It is support by various partners including a
three-year funding from the UK's Department for International Development.(Source:BUANews, 18 March 2003).