Keith Househam

eHNA Profile

Prof. Keith Househam has been active in many aspects of the health sector and has mide a substantial contribution to its development in South Africa through wide ranging experience and expertise.

Prof. Househam has special interest and experience in public health and public health management.

He managed transformation and restructuring of health and social services through effective change management strategies in the Free State province. Managed the Department of Health through a provincial acute cash flow crisis during 1998/9 and subsequently achieved financial stability and unqualified audits. Successfully built a diverse management team in the Free State that was able to integrate and effectively manage the provincial health department under difficult circumstances. The result was an improved health care system and a management team that initially remained effective under my successor, but unfortunately due to the failure to retain key managers has in recent years declined resulting in poor service delivery with highly publicised consequences.

Prof. Househam lead the development of the plan for a new strategic direction for the Western Cape Department of Health, Healthcare 2010 as approved by the Western Cape Provincial Cabinet during March 2003 and the Comprehensive Service Plan for the implementation of Healthcare 2010 approved in May 2007. The implementation of this change management strategy to transform health care services on a wide front in the province has resulted in service improvements although much still requires to be done. It has also developed and maintained effective management structures that have ensured that (i) service delivery targets have largely been met, (ii) the department has largely remained within the allocated budget and (iii) achieved unqualified audits to date (2015). Lead the development of the Healthcare 2030 health strategy in the Western Cape as approved by the Western Cape Government and contributed to the Western Cape Provincial Strategic Plan Strategic Objective Increasing Wellness.

He developed an academic interest in management and management strategies, particularly related to the health sector. The only person in South Africa country to have headed two provincial health departments since 1994 and the sole head of a provincial department of health to remain from those initially appointed in 1995, thus have unique South African experience in this area. The sole remaining provincial Head of Health remaining from those who occupied these positions initially post 1994. Awarded the African Access National Business Awards Top Performing Government Leader Award in 2011.

Prof Househam initiated and lead the process of community participation developed for the University of the University of the Free State Community Partnership Programme, in Bloemfontein, which commenced in 1991 with a unique process of joint decision-making between the health services, the community of Mangaung and the University of the Free State to address provision of effective primary level care, promote community development, develop community-based medical curriculum and promote affirmative action in the university. This project realized over R20 million from foreign donors. It also lead to the development of a community-based facility in a custom-built community health centre (opened during 2001) for the community-based training of health professionals. Founder, Acting Director and Faculty co-ordinator for this project from 1991 until July 1994.This programme continues to provide service, promote development, and garner donor support for the Mangaung community of greater Bloemfontein. This experience has equipped me to work with and in the diverse communities of South Africa.

Prof. Househam has an in-depth understanding of health service provision at the level of a health provider arising from experience as a specialist clinician working in the State health services and also an understanding of the issues related to health professions education and the functioning of the higher educational institutions (universities).

He has been an active acadmic serving as Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and a member of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State served on the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Senate and Council of the University of the Free State.

Prof. Househam is author of 26 publications in various journals, of which 13 are in refereed scientific journals. He has authored six chapters in four medical textbooks and was the principal author and editor of an undergraduate paediatric textbook.