Finance Minister talks healthcare at 2016 SAPC National Pioneer Pharmacy Awards
Minister of Finance
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s recorded address to recipients and guests at the 2016 SAPC National Pioneer Pharmacy Awards dealt with corruption, social justice and the continuing professional development of members of the profession. Woven through his speech was a message emphasising the essential role health and the delivery of quality healthcare played in meeting the values and rights contained in South Africa’s Constitution. Minister Gordhan, a qualified pharmacist by profession, enthused positively on the future role of the profession in the country’s healthcare system.
“We have to find new ways of ensuring not only better access to medicines, but more effective ways of people accessing medicines, including chronic medicines, without going through burdensome queues. There is much to be done to ensure that civil servants become real public servants.”
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan shared his vision for better service delivery in the healthcare sector at the 2016 SAPC National Pioneer Pharmacy Awards. The ‘Evening with the Stars’ gala dinner was held at the Durban ICC on Saturday, 22 October 2016 where pharmacy professionals from both the private and public sectors were acknowledged for excellence in pharmacy.
In his recorded address to guests, Gordhan expressed his joy at the positive increase of 147% more pharmacists entering the public health sector. “Health is central to meeting the values and rights contained in our Constitution. Each day we care for a South African better than we’ve done before, each day we are building the human rights of citizens in South Africa.”
Issues of corruption in the healthcare system, achievement of social justice for South Africans and the continued skills development of pharmacists formed the core message of Gordhan’s address. “How do we ensure that the public finances are spent in the right way and not pocketed in the wrong part of the value chain? We need to be vocal about the corruption in the health system. Public servants and business people ‘swapping brown envelopes’ must be called out. Fiscal revenue can be increased if social justice is achieved. South Africans should be able to say we have a dignified existence.”
For continued innovation within the sector, Gordhan said that questions on how to increase the skills level of pharmacists and young people and increase the levels of innovation, and the way in which the import/export ratio is changed, must be investigated through continued collaboration and communication within the health sector.
Gordhan also highlighted the need for the industry to start anticipating the eventual introduction and roll out of the National Health Insurance (NHI). He encouraged health practitioners to view the NHI vision and the health industry in terms of the National Development Plan 2030. He was positive that ‘over time, as mature South Africans, we will find a way to resolve these issues.’ Funds have already been allocated for the NHI vision and citizen engagement will happen on the financing model when it will be released for public comment. No date has been confirmed on the release.
Gordhan started his career as a pharmacist at King Edward Hospital in Durban before changing direction and embarking on his political career.
Representing award sponsor Aspen Pharmacare, Stavaros Nikolaou continued with the message of positivity and hope in building better healthcare for all South Africans and transforming the spirit of entrepreneurship in the country. He praised the efforts of all award recipients who had demonstrated excellence in the pharmacy fraternity.
SAPC Registrar Amos Masango, in his opening address, said that the Council selected recipients in the categories of ‘Pioneer Pharmacy Professional’ and ‘Pioneer Pharmacy Facility’ for their commitment in ensuring sustainable pharmaceutical services for all South Africans. The awards initially took root in government’s National Health Recognition Awards and over the past six years have branched out to successfully build a national network of pharmacy professional across various industries.