Originally posted April 19, 2016
Leaders from Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health recently traveled to South Africa with Ambassador Andrew Youth as part of a delegation to foster trade, investment and educational ties between the U.S and South Africa.
The delegation, which traveled to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, included two executives of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, Stephen Klasko and Joseph B. Hill, as well as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and other representatives from agencies.
“It was an honor to travel with Ambassador Young and meet with South African government and business leaders,” said Klasko, the CEO of the health care provider. “Through continued dialogue and collaboration, we hope to enhance our bidirectional partnerships with health systems and universities in South Africa to leverage our respective strengths.
“Most importantly, Philadelphia and Jefferson in particular are beginning to get an international reputation for innovation in health care,” he added.
“For example, we discussed with health officials how we could create a telehealth platform to reduce disparities between urban and rural areas in Durban,” Klasko said. “We also looked at how we can leverage our recent grant from the Marcus Foundation on integrative and global health to investigate the merits of traditional African medicine.”
During the trip, Klasko and Hill visited Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and the University of Johannesburg. Baragwanath which is the world’s third largest hospital with 3,200 patient beds and more than 6,000 staff members at a site in the Soweto area of Johannesburg.
“There are many things that we can learn from our partners around the world and that they in turn can learn from us,” said Hill, the senior vice president at Jefferson. “During our visit to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, I was particularly struck by the quality [of] care and attention paid to each patient by the staff there.”
The two executives also participated in cultural events and meetings that included South African government and business leaders. Meetings were held with various government officials including Dr. Sibongiseni Maxwell Dhlomo, health minister for Kwazulu Natal Province; Ayanda Dlodlo, deputy minister for the nation’s public service and administration; Naledi Pandor, minister of science and technology; and Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu, a member of the executive council the oversees the Gauteng Province, which includes Johannesburg.