Pretoria - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the Chief Executive Officers of leading healthcare companies in South Africa have signed a social compact agreement aimed at, among other things, addressing the shortage of medical doctors and fighting the scourge of TB, HIV and Aids.
The agreement - the South African Joint Public Health Enhancement Fund (SAJPHEF) - is also aimed at strengthening the much-needed collaboration between the private and the public sector.
The participating companies have already committed R40 million for next year, of which R20 million will be allocated towards assisting medical schools, R10 million has been set aside to support HIV and Aids programmes and another R10 million will go towards supporting the Academy for Leadership and Management in Health Care which was launched by the minister this week.
The agreement is set to assist government in expanding the intake of medical students, supporting post-graduate students pursuing health related studies and building additional capacity in the management of TB, HIV and Aids.
It is envisaged that in the next 10 years the fund will assist in the production of a substantial number of PhD's in HIV and TB.
According to the agreement, each participating private sector health company will make a fixed annual contribution to the fund.
Motsoaledi explained that all signatory companies had committed to the fund for a period of three years which will be followed by a review process.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held in Pretoria, Motsoaledi said the agreement was an important chapter in the history of health. He said it was set to herald a new standard for collaboration between the public and the private sector.
"This partnership between government and the private health sector conveys a simple message that together we care about a long and healthy life for all South Africans. It is our hope that the launch of the social compact agreement will motivate many more private health care companies to join the initiative and invest in health," he said.
The minister said that the challenges faced by the public health sector placed a tremendous strain on the country's resources.
Motsoaledi said healthcare remained one of government's key priorities.
Participating companies includes Abbott, Alcon Labs, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings, Bausch+Lomb, Clicks Holdings, Clinics Healthcare, Litha Healthcare, Medi-Clinic, Mediscor, Medscheme, Netcare, Novo-Nordisk, Roche, United Pharmaceutical Distributors and Servier Labs. - SAnews.gov.za