Annual Report 2008/09

Health Systems Trust
Publication Year: 
Series Name: 
HST Annual Report
Published by: 
Health Systems Trust

Message from the CEO

HST remains committed to its mission to contribute to building comprehensive, effective, efficient and equitable national health systems by supporting the implementation of functional health districts in South Africa and the Southern African region.

During the year 2008/09, it was once again an honour and a privilege for HST to be involved in many worthwhile projects.

The District Support and Community Development (DSCD) cluster continued its approach of providing technical support to selected provinces and districts by setting-up best practice sites that are used as learning sites. The uniqueness of this approach is that HST facilitators are based at the districts and work closely with district health teams, thus ensuring skills transfer. In this way, HST facilitators have, during the year being reported on, transferred skills to district management in specific provinces with regard to planning budgeting and reporting processes with special focus on Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health, HIV and AIDS as well as Tuberculosis (TB).

To disseminate knowledge and to advocate for equity, the HealthLink cluster amongst others:

  • Published the 13th edition of the widely acclaimed South African Health Review (SAHR) in December 2008. The keynote address at the launch of this edition was delivered by the then Minister of Health, Ms Barbara Hogan.
  • Released the 4th edition of the District Health Barometer (DHB 2007/08). This publication was launched at the Health Informatics of South Africa (HISA) conference on 6 July 2009, at which the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr M Sefularo, delivered the keynote speech.
  • Re-branded its publication, The Treatment Monitor, adopting the new name of The Women and HIV and AIDS Gauge in March 2009. The change of focus and subsequent change of name sought to acknowledge the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and their ability to access services within a sexual and reproductive health rights framework.


This year, again, HST publications have been widely cited by academics in South Africa and other countries.

Staff from the HealthLink cluster worked in two provinces (Gauteng and Western Cape) to assist with the improvement of routine data quality. HealthLink staff also assisted Gauteng Province with conducting Client Satisfaction Surveys in the provinces hospitals.

During the year under review, the Research Programme cluster, in an attempt to categorize and focus studies, was reorganised into four units namely i) Knowledge Management and Priority Health Programme Studies, ii) Gender and Reproductive Health Studies, iii) Health Service and Community Studies and iv) Socio-economic Determinants of Disease Studies.

HST, in collaboration with partners (national and provincial departments of health), during the year being reported on, conducted studies, developed policy briefs, guidelines and manuals which provide valuable information for action in the areas of:

  • District Health Management development
  • Capacity building of community governance structures
  • Choice termination of pregnancy
  • Male circumcision


HSTs achievements for the year 2008/09 were made possible by the prescience of funders, the support of partners, guidance and support from the board of trustees as well as the skill, dedication and commitment of HST staff. Together we are ready and able to continue making a worthwhile contribution towards the improvement of health outcomes in the Southern African region.

Thobile Mbengashe
Chief Executive Officer

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