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Helping South Africa retain scarce medical skills

Every citizen can nominate their local doctor, giving them recognition and acknowledgement for their incredible contribution to society.

 

By: Tshepo Matseba

 

 

The South African healthcare sector continues to face a wave of challenges, including the migration of doctors, physicians and other medical professionals; and access to quality healthcare by all members of society. There are a range of mechanisms that government is undertaking to address these challenges. National Health Insurance (NHI) is one of the government’s initiatives designed to ensure  “universal healthcare access” to all citizens of South Africa and foreigners who are legally in the country,  regardless of their earning capacity. Many in the medical profession, fear that the NHI will lead to a large number of doctors leaving the country, citing takes and limitations imposed on medical aid schemes.

Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize says that the primary reasons why the Republic [of South Africa] has a shortage of doctors and nurses is the fact that the public health sector budget has not been increasing in real terms for the past 10 years, impacting on the number of staff that can be appointed.

“Furthermore, the demand for health services in the country is increasing while there is no additional funding to address the change, which results primarily from immigration and the increasing burden of disease. The shortage of health professionals is a global phenomenon and is more pronounced in low- and middle-income countries as health workers are more likely to migrate to upper- middle-income countries in search of better living and working conditions,” he says.

The shortage and expected emigration of medical professionals necessitates the need for an inclusive public and private sector programme to retain quality talent in the medical fraternity. One such initiative is the South African Health Excellence Awards, which are pioneered  through a partnership between Clinix Health Group and  theSouth African Clinician Scientists’ Society. The two organisations launched the SA Health Excellence Awards in 2018 to recognise and celebrate excellence in healthcare.CEO of Clinix Health Group, Dr Khamane ‘Kop’ Matseke says that the awards will celebrate excellence in healthcare by identifying leaders in a range of categorieswho have contributed to research, teaching and advancement of medicine in South Africa.

The second South African Health Excellence Awards in recognition of the country’s leading researchers, scientists, doctors and other medical professionals will take place on the 23 November 2019 at the Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.

“South Africa has always inspired the world with its medical advances, the most famous of which is the world’s first heart transplant in December 1967.  In another world first, a medical team from the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre announced early in October 2018 that it had, successfully transplanted a liver from an HIV positive mother to an HIV negative baby.  A year later the baby remains HIV negative,” says, Dr Matseke, adding that “the South African Health Excellence Awards are inspired by the intellectual prowess, tenacity and endurance of South Africa’s human capital in the medical space – people who do excellent work for the people of the country, and the world over.”

 

To this end, the Awards celebrate excellence in various categories including,

  • Scientific excellence,
  • Research excellence,
  • Clinical excellence,
  • Leadership excellence,
  • Emerging leader,
  • Rising star and
  • Emerging physician award.

 

President of the South African Clinicians’ Society, Professor Salome Maswime says:“We launched the South African Health Excellence Awards in 2018 because we felt that there is a need to acknowledge the talent and accomplishments of doctors and other clinicians in South Africa. We find that so many people are doing such amazing work in improving healthcare and also doing ground-breaking research. However, there aren’t enough platforms to celebrate the excellence that we see. This is one platform that will unite healthcare practitioners and bring them to one place where we can celebrate all the great things that have been done in the South African healthcare landscape.”

 

The team of adjudicators will include:

 

  • Professor Jimmy Volmink, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University
  • Professor Bruce Biccard, President of South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA), Second Professor and Second Chair in Anaesthesia Deputy Head of Department at the University of Cape Town
  • Professor Ncoza Dlova, Associate Professor, Chief Specialist and Head of Department of Dermatology at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine (NRMSM) at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
  • Dr Judy Dlamini, Chancellor of Wits University and Chairperson of the Mbekani Group
  • Professor Modise Zacharia Koto, Head of General Surgery at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
  • Dr Rolene Wagner, CEO of Frere Hospital
  • Dr Ernest Kenoshi, former CEO of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Acting Head of Department at the Gauteng Health Department

 

Nominations from the medical fraternity, business and the public at large are open until Monday,21 October 2019,following which the adjudication process will commence.

 

How to submit a nomination:

 

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