Your Excellency, Mr. Christophe Farnaud
Ladies and gentleman
It is my greatest pleasure to welcome Your Excellency, Mr Christophe Farnaud to the Health Sector: South Africa in particular the National Department of Health. South Africa and France relations backs date from 1994 whereby France supported the South African Reconstruction and Development Programmes.
Our 2030 National Development Plan continues to guide therelations between these two countries which are structured by a Strategic Partnership encompassing political, economic, and social and defense matters.
South Africa and France have common interests and share values, including promotion of peace and security, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and sustainable development.
Global Interventions French support towards Stop TB Partnership On the 14 -15 April, 2015, I met with Your Excellency, the French Minister for Social Affairs, Health and Women's Rights, Ms Marisol Touraine in Paris, alongside the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board Meeting, wherein I shared the status quo on the NHI in South Africa.
And we all agreed on developing a framework for the health cooperation focusing on amongst others TB, Universal Health Coverage and Ebola.
World Free of Tobacco: Tobacco Control Measuresof Plain Packaging Tobacco Production Plain Packaging Legislation Your Excellency, Ms. Touraine, French Minister of Social Affairs and Health invited South Africa and health officials from 11 countries (Australia, France Hungary, Ireland, Norway, New-Zealand, South-Africa, Sweden, United-Kingdom and Uruguay) on the 20th July 2015 inParis to discuss tobacco control measures and especially the issue of the introduction of plain packaging at national level.
Subsequently, I would like to submit my support toward France’s adoption of Plain Tobacco Packaging and Restrict Ecigarettes. Launch of the United Nations High- Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (HEEG) On the 23rd March 2016, President Zuma and President Hollande both launched the United Nations High- Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (HEEG) in France.
Fair to express my appreciation to both South Africa and France for producing a very coherent and comprehensive report with succinct recommendations/ findings of the Commission.
Centenary Commemoration of the South African engagement in the First World War in France The 11th July 2016, marks an important event in the calendar of South Africa and France wherein His Excellency, President Hollande of the French Republic, hosted President Zuma on a state visit, to reaffirm the importance they attach to the relationship between the two countries.
President Zuma’s visit preceded the centenary commemoration of the South African engagement in the First World War on the French territory and the transformation of the Delville Wood Memorial to honor all South Africans irrespective of race and who perished in the war.
A tribute was paid on the 12th July 2016, at the South African War Memorial of Deville Wood, in France. Alongside the commemoration, both countries signed business and other sector agreements. France Terrorist attacks on the 14 July 2016 South Africa condemns the terrorist attacks which took place on Thursday, 14th July 2016 in the French city, Nice. My deepest condolences to France.
It is for further noting that these attacks has also affected us directly, which has led to the cancellation of the visit of the French Minister, Ms. Touraine to South Africa to attend the 2016 International AIDS Conference and to sign Declaration of Intent for Health.
Health Cooperation between South Africa and France The bilateral relations between the two countries are rich and cover a wide variety of fields, particularly education and training, environment, health, transport, energy, research and science as well as arts and culture.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, France has been very much involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS, research as well as the implementation of disease control programmes.
As part of its support to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, France has been constantly increasing its efforts to promote access to health in developing countries through Universal Health Coverage, with a specific focus on the fight against HIV and AIDS, Strengthening Health Systems and Health Emergencies.
Iam delighted to reassure you that amongst others, we will walk this 2030 journey together to ensure that we “ Achieve the Universal Health Coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essentials health care service, and access to safe, effective, quality essential medicines for all” (2030SDG’s, target 3.8).
Status of South Africa’s support toward UHC (NHI) South Africa is in the process of establishing its universal health care (UHC) system through the development and implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI). The NHI will be phased in over a period of 14 years in three (3) stages.
After the release and consultations of the NHI Green Paper, the Government of France dispatched a French expert on Hospital Financing to attend the Departmental Seminar on NHI in December 2011. Furthermore, in support of the phased implementation of NHI, various activities are being undertaken as part of health system strengthening initiatives.
Activities are also being undertaken to develop establish the building blocks for the NHI Fund and its related functions.
As part of the functions that are going to be undertaken by the NHI Fund, South Africa is in the process of developing a hospital re-imbursement strategy based on Diagnosis-Related Groupers (DRGs) which requires codification of diseases and procedures.
The department is looking at soliciting technical support to undertake this activity and France was identified as the most appropriate country to get this support from as it also has a National Health Insurance system.
France introduced its DRG-based payment system (called T2A, Tarification à l’activité) in 2004/2005 for funding acute services in all hospitals with the aim of improving hospital efficiency, creating a ‘level playing field’ for payments to public and private hospitals and improving the transparency of hospital activity and management.
We as South Africa believe that there is a lot that we can learn from French hospital financing system and on the journey that France embarked upon undertaken to develop their DRG and the related tariffication and codification systems. South Africa is also looking at developing skills and competencies that are required to manage the NHI Fund.
Through our interactions with the Embassy and Technical engagements with coordinated by French Health and Social Protection International Agency also called GIP SPSI , we have been made aware of some institutions that are willing to partner with South Africa to develop these skills and competencies.
The Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International also called CERDI - CNRS in Clermont-Ferrand, France has already engaged with the Department to look at possible Certificates, Diplomas, Masters and PhD Degrees that could be offered to South Africans in relevant aspects of health economics; health financing; universal health coverage; health systems regulation; health care demand; efficiency of health systems and facilities; effects of ill-health on the population through a joint programme that will be undertaken through the University of Auvergne and a South African Institution.
We are also happy that the University is able to offer these courses in English. Signing of the Declaration of Intent ( DoL) Regarding Cooperation on Health The signing of the Declaration of Intent marks the beginning of sound and solid relations between the two countries.
We salute that both for considering the importance of our common objectives towards improving public health locally and globally.
Areas of Focus
The Declaration of Intent will focus on the development and implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI), particularly on the following activities:
- Governance and Regulation of District Health Management Offices
- Healthcare System Financing and Diagnosis-Related Group System (DGR) for hospital financing
- Exchange between healthcare professionals and capacity building in hospitals with regard to the objectives of the UHC and Health System Strengthening (HSS)
- Exchange of work experience, knowledge and good practices between the two countries’ healthcare professionals, including the organisation of training in healthcare according to the objectives of the Universal Health Coverage
- Health Emergency Preparedness.
These areas of cooperation will be achieved through skills transfers; consultations and discussions among experts; meetings and international conferences; study tours as well as other forms of cooperation mutually agreed upon by both countries.
Lastly, as part of the implementation of the Declaration of Intent,
I would like to suggest that a technical working group be established comprising of NHI work stream leaders and International Health Relation as their secretariat to report progress annually to both myself and my colleague, French Health Minister, Ms Touraine.
I wish to Invite Your Excellence to come forward and join me in the signing of the Declaration.
I thank you.