Operation Phakisa to transform public clinics

NOVEMBER 18, 2014

The newly launched Operation Phakisa 2 is expected to transform all public sector clinics into Ideal Clinics which will provide good quality care to all communities.

President Jacob Zuma launched Operation Phakisa 2: Scaling up Ideal Clinic Realisation and Maintenance Programme which is designed to fast-track the implementation of government priority programmes.

In July, the President launched the first phase of Operation Phakisa which focuses on unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans.

Through Operation Phakisa 2, the public health sector seeks to improve the quality of care provided in 3 500 Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities, which consist of government clinics and Community Health Centres (CHCs).

This work entails transforming the existing clinics and CHCs into Ideal Clinics, which will be proudly utilised by all South Africans, out of choice, due to the enhanced quality of services they will provide.

“Over the last five weeks, a team of 164 senior managers from the national, provincial and local government spheres of government, together with their counterparts from the private sector, organized labour, academia, civil society and our Public Entities, participated in this Operation Phakisa laboratory to devise ways and means of making the Ideal Clinic concept a reality.

“They were supported in this process by officials from the Performance Management and Development Unit in Malaysia, where we learned this big fast results delivery model,” President Zuma said.

Operation Phakisa: Ideal Clinic Initiative was organised into eight work streams, focusing on the different building blocks of an Ideal Clinic capable of delivering good quality health services.

The work streams include service delivery, waiting times, human resources, infrastructure, financial management, supply chain management, scaling up and sustainability and institutional arrangements.

Speaking at the launch at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse, President Zuma said the National Development Plan (NDP) that government is implementing through programmes such as Operation Phakisa provides the vision of an ideal health care system.

“The NDP talks about a health system that works for everyone, produces positive health outcomes, and is not out of reach. This goal will only be achieved through a well-functioning health system, anchored on Primary Health Care principles.

“This philosophy therefore continues to influence and guide our country as we prepare for the realisation of universal health coverage for all the people of South Africa, through the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI),” said President Zuma.

He said if South Africans were to be asked to define an Ideal Clinic, they would define it as a health facility that opens on time in the morning, according to its set operating hours, and which does not close until the last patient has been assisted, even if this is beyond the normal closing hours.

“It [Ideal Clinic] is staffed by health care providers who treat people with dignity and observe the Batho Pele principles of access, consultation, courtesy, information, service standards, openness and transparency, redress and value for money.

“The Ideal Clinic will provide community-based health promotion and disease prevention programmes in collaboration with the community. It is very clean, promotes hygiene and takes all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of diseases.

“It has reasonable waiting times and community members do not have to sacrifice their entire working day to seek health care. It provides a comprehensive package of good quality health services every day and community members do not have to return on different days for different services,” President Zuma said.

The President added that community members would say an Ideal Clinic is one that all South Africans can be proud of and call it "our own clinic”, rather than a "government clinic” or a "state health facility”.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said if the country must move forward there’s a need to solve the two obstacles in the health system which are quality health care in the public health system and exorbitant prices charged in the private health care system.

Minister Motsoaledi, who described the waiting times at clinics as unbearable, said the Ideal Clinic will help to solve quality health care in the public health system.

“Can the Ideal Clinic run out of electricity, can the Ideal Clinic run out of water…all those questions are going to be answered in the Ideal Clinic Model. We’ve got 10 such clinics in the country and we’ve been working on them for the past 18 months. Now the Phakisa is, can you take these clinics and multiply them to 3 500, how do you do that,” the Minister said.


Operation Phakisa is an adaptation of the Big Fast Results methodology that was first applied by the Malaysian Government, successfully, in the delivery of its economic transformation programme.

The operation addressed their national key priority areas such as, poverty, crime and unemployment.

It involves setting up clear targets and follows up with on-going monitoring process which makes the results public.

Through this initiative, the Malaysian government was able to register impressive results within a short period.

President Zuma said South Africa has renamed the Malaysian Big Fast Results approach as Operation Phakisa - from a Sesotho word, which means “Hurry Up”, to highlight the urgency with which government wants to deliver on some of the priorities encompassed in the NDP.

The initiative will initially be implemented in two sectors, the ocean economy and health sector, especially clinics. –SAnews.gov.za