A people centred healthcare system that doesn’t discriminate against the economic line – that is the promise contained in the Presidential Health Compact signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, recently.

“It has as its stated goal: one country, one health system. This means quality of care must be the same regardless of whether you have money or not, and regardless of where you live,” said Ramaphosa as he officiated over the signing ceremony.

Ramaphosa accompanied by Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, officiated over the ceremony which took place at George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa, Tshwane. At the Presidential Health Summit held in 2018, government and key stakeholders agreed on the development of a Presidential Health Summit Compact. It is a culmination of a collaborative efforts by government, civil society, business, private providers, academia and health professionals to develop a plan that includes clear objectives, timelines, indicators and financial resources to effectively address challenges in the sector. The compact aims to standardise the quality of public healthcare by addressing nine key issues.
These include staff shortages, labour corruption, infrastructure and stock-outs of medicines, community engagement and supply chain management in the Health Department. In a bid to improve the health system countrywide, the president emphasised the need to have integrated systems across the department to ensure an effective healthcare system.

“We will move from working in silos and we will seek to have a much more integrated approach. This new decentralised approach, which focuses on service delivery at a district level, is perfectly aligned with the objectives of this Presidential Health Compact. By working in a collaborative way, we will be able to reach our goals faster and implement them efficiently and with the best use of resources,” said Ramaphosa. While noting that government has made progress with more than 40% of clinics that serve the population today built after 1994, the president noted that government is alive to the challenges faced by the sector. Among the impediments highlighted by the president are poor resource management, under-performance and inadequate investment.

With the myriad of rocks on the path to quality and people centred healthcare, Ramaphosa urged stakeholders to forge ahead and strive towards achieving a health system that works for everyone.

This, he said would see the country fulfil section 27 of the Bill of Rights, which affirms the right of everyone to have access to health-care services, including reproductive health care. With Mkhize and Gauteng Health MEC, Bandile Masuku, having emphasised the need to look at healthcare as an investment rather than an expense, Ramaphosa affirmed this position.

“A healthy population is economically productive, is industrious and is the bedrock of any country’s economic development,” he said.