Paying for health education: a new formula necessary

23 May 2005


Debating issues: (From left) Deputy Minister of Health's husband Jeremy Routledge, Deputy Minister of Health, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Thenjiwe Kona from UCT's Department of Communication and Development, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Assoc Prof Gonda Perez and Vice-Chancellor Prof Njabulo Ndebele at the national conference on financing health sciences education.

A national conference of health professionals has deliberated on the funding of health education South Africa urgently needs a new model to fund the training of health professionals.

This imperative was stressed at a two-day national conference called by the Western Cape Health Deans Forum, and held in Cape Town on May 16 and 17.

Participants included the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, the Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena, the Deputy Minister of Health, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and the Deputy Director-General of the National Treasury, Ismail Momoniat.

Delegates called for the development of a funding framework to guide all joint agreements between the provinces and universities, recommending that a national working group be established to formulate this. A complicated set of arrangements, differing from province to province, currently governs these relationships.

It was resolved that the financing of health sciences education in South Africa should recognise the inseparable inter-relationship between service, teaching and research, and any agreement should be designed to maintain and strengthen all three components. The conference recognised that there was also an urgent need to formulate agreements between the National Health Laboratory Service and the universities.

In a statement issued at the end of the conference, it was announced that the recommendations would be developed into a comprehensive position paper. The National Committee of Health Sciences Deans, was given a mandate to deliver a full report to the ministers, and to pursue the implementation of the recommendations of the conference.

(The conference organisers wish to thank the following sponsors who made contributions: AstraZeneca, Fresenius Kabi, the Medical Protection Society and Netcare.)


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