Penultimate Week Update

I’ve lost count of how many weeks its been. I think 4. But I know that it’s my second last week, hence the title.

Last week I was in Durban, on the east coast of South Africa. Unfortunately, two of my meetings fell through, so I had a relatively quiet week. I met with the Department of Health as well as one of the largest Non-Profit Hospitals in the country (McCord Hospital, http://www.mccord.org.za/cgi-bin/giga.cgi?c=1285).

My trip to McCord was fantastic. Not only was it incredibly helpful to my research, but it was a place that I could see myself working one day after I get my training as a doctor. McCord allowed me to open up an entire new category of public-private collaboration in South Africa, the area of Provincially/State Aided Hospitals and Clinics through the country. These are Non-Profit Organizations that provide services just like a regular hospital or clinic, but get a portion of their funding from the government. They use the excess funds to develop the hospitals infrastructure and slash prices to make their care more affordable. It’s a brilliant solution that only non-profit organizations can survive on.

This week, I’m in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa. I’ve already met with someone from the National Department of Health, have set up an appointment with the National Treasury (they have an official PPP unit for funding projects), and am in communication with the National DoH PPP director. Unfortunately he is out of his office this week and will not be able to meet. I’m heading down to Jo-burg this afternoon to stop by a research institute and then I’ll make a few personal visits before I head back.

I’ve spent the past week trying to understand the structure of the health care system here in South Africa and doing so has helped me understand the different categories of PPPs. One of my preliminary conclusions is that I’ve found three major types of public-private collaboration in South Africa, (1) official Treasury-sanctioned public-private partnerships, (2) funding of/collaboration with non-profit organizations, (3) contracting out of services to private health professionals. There are multiple theoretical systems with which to classify the different models for PPIs. One was even developed specifically for South Africa, however I’ve found that one of the systems developed at UCSF seems to be the most useful for both categorizing and then for going backwards and trying to get information on a project simply by looking at the model category.

I head down to Cape Town at the end of my trip to hopefully meet with someone from the Department of Health, and I’m hoping to get a meeting with the President of the South African Medical Association as well. We’ll see how those stack up-but I’d be quite fortunate to get either!

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