The 19th annual Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) Conference will focus on prioritising the health citizen and how the industry can translate technical evidence and knowledge into policy and action as countries across the southern Africa region begin to progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Themed “Putting the health citizen first, pushing the boundaries of the impossible”, the BHF Conference will be held in Sun City from 17 to 20 June 2018.

“The objective for this year’s conference is to get the industry to push boundaries and explore ways to work together to find solutions that are aligned with the important principles of UHC,” said Managing Director at the BHF, Dr Katlego Mothudi.

“A lot of research has been conducted in relation to UHC theory and policy evidence, and the implementation will require an inclusive process and for all stakeholders to collaborate in the interest of the health citizen. Our aim for this year’s conference is to map out priority areas for the health citizen and agree on implementable action items to ensure that private sector healthcare industry players across the region proactively gears towards UHC,” continued Dr Mothudi.

According to Dr Mothudi, a number of questions remain on how to overcome fragmentation in healthcare as African countries begin to make progress towards this global agenda to achieving access for all by 2030.

How can the public and private sector scale up information systems and technology infrastructure to create access to health? We need to explore platforms that can be used to hear the voice of the marginalised, so how we can incorporate the voice of civil society, business in the discourse? How do we answer to the inevitable consequence of the requirement to scale up quite rapidly as a response to the changing and merging of the two environments?

These are just some of the questions that should be considered when interrogating how the industry can translate technical evidence and knowledge into policy and action as we progress towards UHC.

Discussions at this year’s BHF Conference, among other issues, will focus on addressing these questions and identifying areas in which the health citizen can be prioritised and a way forward with action plans to ensure that private healthcare industry players also begin to play a more proactive role in enabling the success of UHC.

According to Dr Mothudi, there are a number of actions that the private sector industry players can already begin to implement as priorities to meet the needs of the health citizen. These interventions can then address specific health challenges, as can the design of scheme benefits that actively improve overall health, risk pooling, cross subsidisation, as a way of enabling defragmentation of systems. Engagements are also required around the concept of strategic purchasing of healthcare services.

The 19th BHF Conference will bring together speakers from around the world to share experiences of implementing UHC in their countries and to provide insights into what can be applied.

Political Analyst, Dr Somadoda Fikeni will deliver an opening address on ‘Putting the health citizen first’. Founder and CEO of the African Leadership Group, Fred Swaniker, will give a keynote address on ‘Leaders who messed up and the generation that can fix it’. He will give insights into ethical leadership and why we need to focus on empowering the generation that will fix this continent.

Professor of Management and Political Economy and Vice Dean for Strategy and Research, African Leadership University School of Business (ALUSB), Catherine Duggan, will focus on the resources in the continent, and why we need as a collective to start reposition the continent to be part of the value chain.

Managing Director and Vice President of the Health Insurance Organisation, Dr Mohsen George will share experiences of implementing UHC in Egypt.

Having been instrumental in driving Kenya’s National Health Insurance Fund, the founder of the East Africa Healthcare Federation, Co-founder of Avenue Healthcare, Chairman of the Africa Healthcare Federation and the Africa Health Business Ltd (AHBL) as well as the Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF), Dr Amit Thakker, will share learnings from various countries on how governments are removing regulatory barriers to allow Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).

Founder and CEO of Biofourmis in Singapore, Kuldeep Singh Rajput, will share experiences of how they are using technology to improve health outcomes in South Africa.

Senior Director for Global Health and Private Sector Engagement at the United Nations Foundation, Natalie Africa, will share insights on various programmes around the world that are focusing on Women as custodians of Health.

Senior Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Florida Blue and Chairman of the NHCAA Board of Governors, David Popik, will share global insights on how the industry can prevent fraud, waste and abuse.

Speakers from the region include Chairperson of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), Dr Clarence Mini; Managing Director of the BHF, Dr Katlego Mothudi; Legal Consultant, Dr Debbie Pearmain; Managing Director of Ethics Monitoring & Management Services Pro, Cynthia Schoeman; Head of Research at BHF’s newly established in-house specialised research unit, Charlton Murove; Acting Chief Executive and Registrar at the CMS, Dr Sipho Kabane; Regulators for medical schemes in Botswana, Ogona Tshoswane and for Namibia, Stephen Uanjengua-ije Tjiuoro.

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