On Monday, 4 February 2013, Premier Helen Zille officially launched The Health Foundation at a plaque unveiling marking the opening of its offices in Stellenbosch. The Health Foundation was established in 2012 as an independent Western Cape non-profit organisation to generate funds for the maintenance and upgrade of the province’s health infrastructure. This will assist the Western Cape Health Department to channel the existing health budget towards the care of patients, rather than infrastructure.
Speaking at the launch, Premier Zille said The Health Foundation is an example of the innovative public-private partnerships that are being pioneered in the Western Cape to address the province's challenges. She described the foundation as a vehicle that advances the Western Cape Government's "whole-of-society" approach to leverage strategic partnerships, similar to the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) in the investment attraction and economic development arena and the Safety Lab in the area of public safety.
Premier Zille also emphasised the crucial importance of families and individuals to play their role in ensuring societal health and wellness. She said, "Health is a partnership and it is everyone's responsibility. Healthcare can become a bottomless pit if all the roleplayers do not do what they need to do. Currently 60 – 80% of our health budget is spent on preventable diseases and conditions that people could choose not to get if they just live healthy lifestyles, do not abuse alcohol and have safe sex. Our biggest challenge is to end poverty and we will not achieve this effectively until we address the root of our social ills: the collapse of the family and the social vacuum created by absent fathers."
Social ills that massively add to the burden on the healthcare system – like teenage pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse and irresponsible sexual behaviours such as intergenerational sex and multiple concurrent partners – could be prevented through societal behaviour change which is best nurtured in a functional family environment. This would mean, she added, that a greater portion of the resources of the Foundation and the healthcare system more broadly could then go to providing services for the disabled and improving the quality of healthcare.