HEALTH REFORM REPORT LAUNCH WEBINAR

HEALTH REFORM NEEDED MORE URGENTLY THAN EVER – LAUNCH OF NEW RESEARCH ON HEALTH SYSTEMS CHANGE 

SECTION27 and Concentric Alliance to host health stakeholders in a webinar to engage on ways forward for health reform in South Africa at launch of new research report. 

9 June 2022, Johannesburg – Stakeholders from across the healthcare sector will convene virtually to engage with the findings of a new research report produced by Concentric Alliance and SECTION27 entitled ‘Health Reform: Perspectives and Proposals’. Participants from the National Department of Health, private healthcare sector, academia and civil society will discuss the research findings and explore ways for moving health reform efforts past the current impasse. 

The launch of this seminal research will now take place virtually on Monday, 20 June 2022 from 10:00-11:30. The event will include a presentation of the report, followed by a panel discussion. The panel discussion will be facilitated by SECTION27 Executive Director, Umunyana Rugege. Panellists will include:

  • Ayanda Ntsaluba, Group Executive Director Discovery Limited
  • Sibongile Tshabalala, Chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign
  • Prof Ashraf Coovadia, Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital

The research was undertaken during a changing healthcare climate in South Africa. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa’s health system was in desperate need of reform, with inequality characterising access to healthcare services. The additional pressures placed on the health system during COVID-19 have, in some cases, almost overwhelmed it; and fatal healthcare system failures, like the extended closure of Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, have nearly brought the public health sector to its knees. Healthcare workers are burning out. The constitutional right to access healthcare is not a reality for many. 

While the enormity of challenges facing the healthcare sectors cannot be understated, these crises have reinvigorated public awareness of the great inadequacies of our health system. The need for reform is greater than ever. And although efforts to achieve health reform seem to have stagnated, with stakeholders mistrustful and hesitant, opportunities for meaningful health system changes do exist. Concentric Alliance and SECTION27 believe that there is room to move the process beyond rhetoric and hostile debates, and into concrete steps towards health reform that can better serve the health needs of people in South Africa.

Over the course of 2020, Concentric Alliance and SECTION27 interviewed representatives from various health system building blocks and public policy makers, including national and provincial departments of health, health regulators, medical schemes, public and private health care workers, trade unions, private hospital groups, public health academia, health civil society, the pharmaceutical industry and government. We sought to determine what – when away from the public eye – health stakeholders can agree on. All the people we interviewed agree that the foundation of a health system is the right to access health care services and that there is a need for health system reform.

The research also outlines areas of disagreement and contention: the difficult areas holding up health reform often highlighted in polarised public debates about National Health Insurance. But even within the areas of disagreement identified in our research, we found possibilities for consensus and moving the process of health reform forward. The full report can be found here

As health reform becomes more urgent, there is a need to bring health stakeholders together in the interest of putting people’s right to access healthcare services first.

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