HomeArticlesPresidential Health Summit: The health department missed 60% of its 2018 goals

Presidential Health Summit: The health department missed 60% of its 2018 goals

  • South Africa’s second Presidential Health Summit is taking place in Boksburg on 4 and 5 May. Government officials and public health experts will discuss the proposed National Health Insurance scheme and they’ll evaluate whether there’s been progress on the goals set at the first summit, which was held in 2018. Here’s the health department’s press release.
  • Read the report from the 2018 summit here.
  • View the summit programme.
  • Our news editor, Joan van Dyk, is at the event. You can follow her live coverage here or on our Twitter account @Bhekisisa_MG.



  • Watch the May 4 opening recording here
  • How much progress has been made with the goals of the first presidential health summit? The national health department’s chief director of health information, research and monitoring and evaluation, Thulile Zondi, presented the department’s progress report. Here is her powerpoint presentation.
  • Have a look at Bhekisisa’s easy-to-understand summary of Zondi’s presentation:
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa’s health advisor Olive Shisana explained why South Africa needs a second summit report. “Health workforce faces a paradoxical challenge in South Africa,” she said. “On one hand the country has a shortage of healthcare workers, particularly doctors and nurses, and this has resulted in a high patient-to-healthcare worker ratio … On another hand there is the large number of professionals who are unemployed — thousands of nurses and more than a thousand doctors. The major factor of this issue is the ability of the fiscus to absorb and provide all occupational protections to the number of health workers required for the country.” Read her speech.
  • What did Health Minister Joe Phaahla have to say? “Our public health facilities could perform better if it was not for inefficiency, poor management and neglect of duty due to poor supervision and unfortunately even outright corruption … but anybody who denies the fact that the current path of our two-tier health system [of an under resourced public and over resourced private health system] is not sustainable is a denialist … The need for reform of the current trajectory should not be a matter of debate even where we may differ on details but to those who say leave the private sector alone and just fix the public health, we say this is disingenuous.” Read his speech.

The media was not allowed in the sessions following the opening ceremony. We’ll upload those presentations when we receive them, should they be made available to the media. 


  • Thulani Masilela of the department of planning, monitoring and evaluation, spoke about the protocol that will be followed to develop goals after the second summit. View the livestream of his presentation on the health department’s Facebook page.
  • Olive Shisana, the president’s special policy advisor, summarised the highlights of the summit. Watch her presentation on the health department’s Facebook page. Facebook page.
  • Deputy Minister of Health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, reported on the progressed that South Africa has made with the road map to universal health coverage. Here is his powerpoint presentation.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa gave his views. “I have had the opportunity to go through the robust summit programme and have had sight of some of the presentations and discussions that have taken place over the past two days,” he said. “I have also received the mid-term review report. Though there has been progress, there is a lot of work ahead of us. We have to reassess and redefine our country’s health priorities to align them with firstly, the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030; and secondly, the African Union’s New Public Health Order announced ahead of the 77th UN General Assembly last year.” Read his speech. Watch his speech.