Updated 24 July 2013

Discovery Foundation announces new initiative to support healthcare in South Africa

The Discovery Foundation announced a series of annual awards aimed at recognising and supporting ongoing excellence in South Africa’s private healthcare sector.

The Discovery Foundation today announced a series of annual awards aimed at recognising and supporting ongoing excellence in South Africa’s private healthcare sector. Started in 2006 in response to the need to train more specialists for our public sector, the Discovery Foundation has made headway in helping to train an additional 213 specialists in scarce medical fields. Over a 10-year period, the Foundation’s investment is expected to exceed R150 million and to date over R106 million has been invested.

The new series of awards, the Discovery Foundation Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Private Healthcare, builds on the Foundation’s commitment to South Africa’s healthcare sector.  It aims to showcase those healthcare professionals who are delivering outstanding patient care, excellence and innovation in the private sector. The awards will promote the ongoing development of clinical quality, leadership and health systems improvement in South Africa. Initiatives that improve quality of care and efficiency in both the public and the private sector will significantly enhance the ability of the overall health system to meet its objectives of providing universal health coverage to all South Africans. The awards aim to develop leaders in both sectors to encourage innovation and to contribute towards the retention of doctors in South Africa.

The Discovery Foundation is an independent trust set up by Discovery Limited with the primary objective of investing in healthcare resources in South Africa. Dr Vincent Maphai, chairperson of the Discovery Foundation, explained the rationale behind the Discovery Foundation’s financial investment: “Investing in healthcare resources is critical to address the severe shortage of medical specialists in South Africa, particularly in the underserved public sector and rural areas. Even more pressing is the need to support research and academia as well as the need to recognise doctors who are currently doing excellent work. This is a critical component of building a strong and sustainable healthcare system for future generations in South Africa and a need recognised and expressed by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. The Discovery Foundation’s vision and mandate is to support this national priority with a financial investment in developing human resources in our country.”

The Discovery Foundation continues to look at opportunities to broaden its investment and impact in the healthcare sector. More recently, The Foundation introduced a doctoral and post-doctoral programme in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, which has the largest hospital based research programme in the United States and is recognised as being a global leader in clinical research. The first recipient of the award, Dr Neliswa Gogela from the University of Cape Town, will spend a year in Boston doing further research and training in liver disease and transplantation, a medical discipline that is still in its infancy in South Africa.

The new awards category is in line with the global trend of developing leadership capability in healthcare. In light of healthcare reforms that are reshaping many of the world’s healthcare systems, healthcare professionals must remain at the forefront of these issues. A number of the preeminent healthcare institutions have developed physician leadership courses in support of this trend. The winners of these new Discovery Foundation awards will participate in learning experience at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, United States, as part of a physician leadership course uniquely customised to address the challenges facing the South African healthcare system.

Prof Morgan Chetty, Chairperson of the Independent Practitioners Association of South Africa, commented on the initiative: “Initiatives such as the Discovery Foundation Awards play an important role in making sure we are able to deliver quality healthcare to all South Africans. We have an excellent private healthcare sector, and support for doctors – in the form of recognition and a quality international learning experience – is invaluable in helping to build our country’s healthcare sector.”

Press Release, Discovery




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