Team to drive health charter is announced

Thabiso Mochiko and Neesa Moodley

Representatives from the public sector are chairman Kamy Chetty, Humphrey Zokufa, Percy Mahlati, Elise Leuvendal, Ray Mabope, Debbie Pearmain, Mathari Matsau, Yogan Pillay, William Dachs and Thabo Sibeko.Private sector representatives are Anna Mokgokong, Mbasa Mxenge, Menzi Simelane, Mike Flemming, William Pick, Fazel Randera, John Fagan, Thembeka Gwagwa, Yvonne Motsisi and Iqbal Surve.

The team faces the challenge of developing a health charter that would address issues of equity among disadvantaged people to ensure access to health service and quality health care for everyone. Tshabalala-Msimang emphasised that the charter was not just about black economic empowerment (BEE), but a transformation charter.She said: We are developing this charter with a clear understanding and strong conviction that we need a viable public and private health sector to meet the increasing health needs of our people.

She hinted at the need for co-operation and greater understanding between the public and private sectors, saying the two sectors needed to work together to ensure the rational use of resources and the provision of high quality care to the patients at the lowest possible costs. The minister was unable to give time frames for the charter, but said that the task team would address issues broadly and prioritise them accordingly. "We don't think we should be held squarely on time frames ... things change from time to time."

"I can't say we will start with this and end with that," she said. The first draft release of the charter is expected early next year. Randera, the chairman of the Private Healthcare Forum, which represents key players in the private healthcare sector, said that both sectors had a significant role to play.

He said a scorecard would probably be drawn up to accommodate those companies that had already entered BEE deals. Companies that have concluded BEE deals include MX Health with a 62.18 percent BEE stake, and the 100 percent buyout of Forim and Alliance Pharmaceuticals by Thebe Health Care. (Source: Business Report, 30 September 2004)