Western Cape Health Foundation Shows the Province is Seeking Solutions
The establishment of the Western Cape Health Foundation is a bold step into the territory of fundraising, the provincial Health Minister, Theuns Botha, said on 24 May when officially announcing the foundation. He was speaking at a meeting of the Public Private Health Forum attended by businessmen representing the corporate sector.
"In spite of the resource challenges facing the health sector, not one health department in the province is have taken strides to grow the health rand," said Minister Botha.
The board had their first meeting early in March and is now in the process of appointing the CEO. Minister Botha said, "Western Cape Government's Healthcare 2020 vision is patient-driven, meaning that every aspect of our healthcare system will be perceived and thought through from the perspective of the patient and the patient's experience of our health services."
"It follows that in order to stay on par and set the trend in this country and this continent, we need to invest in our infrastructure, our facilities and our equipment. There is no way that the state's purse can have the capacity to invest in state-of-the-art technologies. The state's purse provides for the bare necessities."
"So in the Western Cape, in order for this province to grow our economy and create job opportunities, we have to find a way to invest in our health infrastructure without delving into the provincial health budget."
"In terms of treasury regulations, provincial government cannot legally establish an entity for fundraising, so we had to find legal ways and means to generate revenue to specifically address maintenance of infrastructure. We appointed Ernst and Young Advisory Services to do an investigative audit and make recommendations on the best vehicle to achieve this goal. In this investigation Ernst and Young interviewed officials of the department and private sector representatives. They also examined commercial naming-rights projects in South Africa, the UK and USA."
"The outcome was the recommendation for the establishment of an independent foundation that will form strategic partnerships with the corporate sector. This means that through the private sector, the Department of Health will be able to undertake projects with provincial government and in the process strengthen their own brand, and our health facilities will benefit."
Minister Botha pointed out that the involvement of the minister or the department should be nominal "to avoid a situation where we may be perceived to establish an entity without the necessary statutory power". In line with the recommendations from Ernst and Young Advisory Services, the foundation will take responsibility for the commercial rights project and independently spearhead new and innovative initiatives to generate resources for health. This is a significant step in strengthening this key relationship between the department and the private sector.
"I am encouraged that a number of prominent people, including Dr Paul Cluver, who chairs the board of directors of the Health Foundation, have been willing to give of their time and energy to promote better health in the Western Cape."
Minister Botha said, "At the heart of our provincial system is a commitment to accountability, affordability and efficiency - all necessary elements for high-quality health outcomes. The establishment of the Western Cape Health Foundation certainly demonstrates that the Western Cape has succeeded in responding with solutions to bring about better health outcomes."