Discovery Foundation Invests Millions In Improving Healthcare for All South Africans

Health insurance provider 'Discovery Health' has awarded millions of rand to a range of projects aimed at improving South Africa's health care status and increasing the number of healthcare professionals.

Online PR News – 31-August-2012 – Cape Town/South Africa – The largest medical aid in South Africa, Discovery Health has awarded millions of rand in funding to community driven projects, academics and training programmes in 2012.

In keeping with its philosophy of prevention rather than cure, the medical aid schemes giant has earmarked R100 million in grants that is invested piece meal year on year.

The Discovery Foundation was established in 2006 to not only fill the funding gap, but to re-energise specialised training of South Africa’s health care professionals. The mission is to ramp up care in deprived communities and to invest in a healthier, happier South Africa across the board.

"Discovery as a company remains passionate about helping people improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life. We believe we can play an important role in the broader community and society at large in the area of healthcare."

"Our country’s healthcare sector faces many challenges, and one of these critical challenges is the shortage of healthcare professionals, especially medical doctors. In addition to this, there are not enough medical academics and researchers available to train a new generation of medical undergraduates and healthcare professionals."

The Foundation has split its annual funding purse into four carefully categorised awards:

• Academic Fellowship Awards – aimed at optimising clinical and academic research and know how across South Africa

• Sub-Specialist Awards – directed at providing support for training South Africa’s emerging young specialists

• Rural Fellowship Awards – comprises a series of grants to drive the development and retention of rare medical skills in rural communities

• Excellence Award – intended to fund and build centres of excellence in health care

To date, the industry leader has invested R84 million in enhancing South Africa’s health profile which has taken a considerable knock since the dawn of democracy. The Aids pandemic coupled with the denialism associated with the Mbeki era and the unravelling education crisis of the Zuma presidency has put pressure on an already overburdened and under resourced health care sector.

This year, over R17 million was awarded to worthy recipients that include:

• The Hambisela Programme in the Eastern Cape, a rural initiative aimed at empowering health care workers working with children diagnosed with cerebral palsy

• The University of Cape Town Lung Institute, where funding will drive a study of Tuberculosis-Associated Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a disease that affects 80 million people across the globe

Discovery Health has dominated the medical aid schemes sector in South Africa since its inception. Its sound financial indices including an AA+ Global Credit Rating and over R7 billion in reserves puts it on an equal, if not better, with competing medical aid providers.

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