Discovery Foundation helps train more than 250 doctors to do lifesaving research and contribute to improve public health system
The Discovery Foundation today announced 38 recipients at its seventh annual Discovery Foundation Awards event held in Johannesburg. The grants go to doctors in the public sector that are refining their expertise to address special needs or skills shortages, development of solutions to meet critical healthcare needs in under-resourced areas, and for capacity building in rural healthcare institutions.
The Foundation’s aim is to bring significant change in the public healthcare sector by investing in the education and training of medical specialists in areas of need. The award recipients train further at medical institutions in South Africa as well as leading institutions internationally, including the Massachusetts General Hospital and Cleveland Clinic in the United States.
Dr Vincent Maphai, Chairman of the Discovery Foundation, oversaw the awards event, which disbursed research grants to the tune of over R20 million for 2015. This will fund 10 PhDs, six Masters in Medicine degrees, critical maternal and child health, and TB research among others. One of the PhD awards, the Massachusetts General Hospital Fellowship award, will see Dr Shrish Budree, a young Paediatric Gastroenterologist, study at the world-renowned hospital in the United States following on the footsteps of another successful recipient who returned to serve in the public sector.
“The Discovery Foundation is continuing in its pursuit of a bold vision to be a catalyst in making South Africa a centre of excellence of Academic Medicine,” says Dr Maphai. “Because of its legacy built upon incredible research done on HIV and Aids, and related healthcare problems that came with it, our country is in a unique position to solve some of the most perplexing health and clinical challenges. Therefore, support for medical research moves us towards this and to overcome various disease burdens.”
The Awards are made up of five categories that each address a specific area of medicine for development of Academic Medicine and research, further specialisation in niche and scarce fields of medicine, rural medicine, and human resource and capacity building programmes.
Over the past nine years, the Foundation has already committed more than R160 million for the training of over 250 healthcare recipients. “During this time, we witnessed some truly ground-breaking work by our past awards recipients, and some of the research projects include investigating and gaining insights into treating patients in the unique South African setting in the various areas of healthcare,” says Dr Maurice Goodman, a Foundation trustee.
Besides skills shortage, the awards recognise that in spite of ground-breaking research achievements in the country, the majority of South Africans are unable to afford even the most basic healthcare services, with the healthcare facilities they depend on often under-resourced.
Through social responsibility initiatives, Discovery is committed to deliver healthcare to the broader community by bringing quality infrastructure and services within reach of many communities who have previously not had access.
“Discovery is passionate about helping people improve their health and quality of lives. We believe we can play an important role in the broader community and society in the area of healthcare,” says Dr Goodman. “The Discovery Foundation is one of the ways in which we try to achieve this goal, and through our 10-year and beyond commitment, we hope to meet critical areas of need in the public healthcare sector.
- The Discovery Foundation is an independent trust set up by Discovery Limited with the primary objective of investing in healthcare resources in the South Africa’s public sector
- Through a series of annual awards and grants, the Foundation invests in specialist training, clinical research, rural healthcare and healthcare leadership
- The awards categories include: Massachusetts General Hospital Fellowship Award, Academic Fellowship Award, Sub-specialist Award, Rural Fellowship Award (including individual and institutional, and the Distinguished Visitor), and the Excellence Award
- To date it has invested R160 million in more than 250 recipients, including the 2015 recipients.
- Recipients train in a variety of medical fields, including TB, HIV, paediatric, virology, cardiology and oncology