South Africa faces a widespread burden of health issues including high rates of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, unacceptably high maternal and child mortality levels, increasing levels of chronic disease as well as violence and psychological trauma. The pressing disease burden stands reflective of the country’s continued and growing health inequality among population groups and geographical areas. Faced with daunting human resource challenges, South Africa’s health care system is confronted with a limited capacity to implement policies, insufficient innovation, and shortfalls in executive leadership.
Seeking to strengthen health transformation in South Africa, the Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Program in Health (ASELPH) specifically aims to improve crucial components of the health care system including the immediate need to increase the health system’s capacity to deliver high-quality, cost-efficient services, and the longer-term desire to strengthen and elevate executive level training for future generations of health leaders. In doing so, ASELPH focuses on service delivery improvements, human resource capacity development, and excellence in executive level training. Designed to contribute to the goals of the Health Minister’s Health Management Development Plan for South Africa, ASELPH mainly supports the initiative to improve executive leadership within the country’s health care system.
ASELPH has made considerable progress in reaching its healthcare objectives. Seeking to establish and maintain a critical mass of knowledge, skills, and leadership among emerging District Health leaders, ASELPH has enrolled 206 Fellows through 3 cohorts at University of Pretoria (UP) and 2 cohorts at University of Fort Hare (UFH). UFH plans to induct its 3rd cohort by the end of the 2017. In their efforts to improve policy implementation strategies, UP and UFH have each delivered a policy seminar focused on the National Health Insurance Initiative.