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Opening Remarks at The Launch of The South African Review and The National Primary Health Care Facilities Survey


Honourable Minister, Dr Manto Tshabalala Msimang, MECs present, Heads of Department, senior managers in the national and provincial departments of health, ladies and gentlemen, I wish to refer to one of the famous quotes by our Minister of Finance, Mr Trevor Manuel which says: If you cant measure it, you cant manage it! This quote, probably said in a financial and budgeting context, succinctly captures the purpose of both the South African Health Review and the National Primary Health Care Facilities Survey: To provide a data-driven body of information against which progress in providing quality healt​h care can be measured, and most importantly, by using information to better plan and manage our health services.

Todays launch coincides with the commemoration of South Africas 10 years of freedom. It is therefore not surprising that unlike previous editions, this edition provides a critical reflection on the performance of our health system over the past 10 years. The Reviews findings and conclusions are based on objective and rigorous analysis provided by independent researchers and reviewers. Its recommendations are however realistic to the practical challenges that face health services managers and their personnel. To that end, health personnel provided valuable data for which we are grateful and also co-authored the various chapters.

The funding provided by the Atlantic Philanthropies, a private Foundation, for the production and printing of the Review also helps ensure the publications financial sustainability and independence.

In keeping with the data-anchored focus of the Review, the fourth Facilities Survey gives a status report on our countrys PHC services points. By comparing this years findings with those of previous years, we have been able to generate long-term trends in improvements (or the lack thereof) in health care delivery in an informative manner than the usual snapshot-type surveys produced in other situations.

As usual, the publications show a mixed bag of successes and failures. There is danger that readers may choose to focus on either of the 2 extremes. We caution against this, and suggestthat all users of the publications, including policy makers, health services managers, front-line health workers, students, the media and international role players with an interest in South Africa should use the information provided in its totality, and not selectively.

We however wish to indicate that, notwithstanding the challenges that continue to face us as a nation, it will be disingenuous not to recognize that South Africa is better off from 10 years ago, and the information provided today attest to this. We can only grow stronger if we fully utilize the resources and tools at our disposal. To this end, we in the HST provide as our contribution to these efforts, the South African Health and the PHC Health Facilities Survey.(Orginal speech : 28 July 2004)

The SAHR and the Facilities Survey can be found on the HST web site. Press release
South African Health Review 
Excecutive Summary SAHR
National Primary Health Care Facilities Survey

For more information contact: Ashnie Padarath: +27 31 3072954 or 083 314 5191.
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