Embarking on a Safari

Tomorrow, I will be leaving from London Heathrow to fly down to Johannesburg, South Africa. It will mark the first time I’ve set foot on the African continent, and I am ever so excited!

This past month has been a flurry of making contacts, reading, reserving cars/hotels, and mentally preparing for a fantastic trip. My goal is to assess the nature of the current public-private partnerships in South Africa in the area of health services delivery. In India, a robust engagement of the private sector by the government has resulted in a thriving private sector that has not only retained, but attracted health personnel. I would love South Africa to carefully, but consistently develop similar partnerships. I could see this goal being a long-term personal goal for me.

South Africa is a country riddled with HIV/AIDs, TB, and inequalities in access to health care. It has a lower life expectancy than India. It’s HIV and TB incidence rates are on the orders of 25 and 4 times the global averages, respectively, leading to an adult mortality rate that’s roughly 3 times the global average. I find this absolutely shocking for perhaps the most Westernized country on the continent. There are a lot of problems with the health system in SA, and my intention is to analyze the health care delivery (personnel is perhaps the most important input of a health care system) and specifically look at the private sectors interaction with the public sector. On this brief one-month project, I intend to survey the current state of the department of the treasury-sanctioned PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships-not typically involved in service delivery) and more informal PPIs (Public Private Interactions).

What do I know? That there exist about 5 PPPs related to health care, and a limited, unspecified amount of PPIs in the country. My whirlwind tour will include stops at government departments, hospitals, universities, research institutes, and clinics. I hope to come away with a handful of information about current PPIs and to be able to describe the PPIs in existence.

Here’s to my African Safari.

Cheers from London.