Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Programme in Health

Programme Overview

“The programme made me a thinker, to question WHY things happen, be innovative, and scientific in my approach. It brought the concept of an integrated approach home and the understanding of the South African Health System.” (Fellow)

“Through ASELPH I gained sound understanding of the evolving South African health care system and I am equipped with the skills and competencies necessary to make decisions based on sound evidence that responds to the health care service needs.” (Fellow)

“I have become a better person in terms of understanding the South African Health System and have been able to identify my role in the District Health Services. The program has strengthened my belief that DHS is the engine of the South African Health System and failure to resource it properly will result in the collapse of health services in the country. It has created a different network of people for me to interact with whom I would not have known.” (Fellow)

ASELPH aims to improve crucial components of South Africa's health care system. This includes both increasing its capacity to deliver high-quality, cost-efficient services, and, to strengthen and elevate executive level training for future generations of health leaders. Designed to contribute to the goals of the Health Minister's Health Management Development Plan for South Africa, ASELPH is focused on training provincial and district managers responsible for implementing strategic priorities, including the National Health Insurance initiative, the re-engineering of Primary Health Care and the National Comprehensive Plan for HIV, STIs and TB.

What differentiates ASELPH from other programmes?

Public administration and health leadership programs are everywhere. The ASELPH approach is unique in this crowded terrain and offers healthcare managers a unique opportunity to develop their leadership competencies, link them to a community of health leaders and experts and also help build the skills to deliver health policy effectively.


Students engage with South African health policy issues through Harvard’s case-based model of teaching. Cases are inspired by common challenges experienced by managers in the South African healthcare system.

Educational Delivery

Education is delivered through a blended model that makes use of e-learning strategies to reduce in-class time and flipped classroom sessions to make in-class time more efficient

Harvard T.H. School of Public Health

ASELPH delivers classes that were co-designed by Harvard professors. Harvard also participated in specific e-learning modules and is involved in policy research and seminars, mentoring of faculty and the case design processes.

Critical health policy engagement

There is also a practical policy component to the program. ASELPH helps to build consensus around key health policy issues by bringing global experts, policy makers, and health system managers together.

Close alignment with National Department of Health priorities

The South African NDOH has been involved in the design, implementation and ongoing management of ASELPH. The cases and courses are delivered with the intention to further national health policy objectives.

Access to ASELPH’s alumni network

ASELPH has built a community of practice. Over 300 health managers have been trained through ASELPH, 65% of which are in senior leadership positions and represent all 9 provinces. Fellows have access to mentorship opportunities and also gain a collective experience which managers draw from once they are back in the field.

ASELPH Approach

ASELPH approach

Service Delivery

  • Rigorous recruitment of emergent and existing leaders in health
  • Develop a critical mass of knowledge, skills and competencies in health management

Executive Training

  • Create academic centers of excellence health care management
  • Contribute to research in health policy

Policy Goal

  • Organize policy seminars that examine and improve national implementation plans
  • Engage with Department of Health on strategic polices to incorporate into ASELPH instruction

The goal is to create a community of practice that will lead health system transformation in South Africa through improved analysis, decision-making, implementation and stewardship

Transforming South Africa's Health System


After years of undemocratic rule, Sauth Africa’s developmental agenda, is by implication, “transformational”. It strives to undo the racial legacies of the past and forge a more free and fair society in which all people are given the opportunities to realize their full capabilities and ambitions. Disparities in health (and other basic welfares) are rooted in these historical legacies. The path to improving healthcare in South Africa must be viewed in this broad, and challenging, developmental space.

Today in South Africa, healthcare is a human right guaranteed by the Constitution. The Department of Health has developed The National Health Insurance (NHI) plan to provide financing to make sure that all citizens of South Africa receive essential healthcare and access to good quality healthcare. Achieving these goals requires skilled and committed health co re managers and leaders in the provinces and districts to drive thishealth system transformation where care is delivered. Faced with daunting human resource challenges, there is limited capacity to implement policies, insufficient innovation, and a shortfall in executive leadership.

ASELPH approaches health system reform from this historical standpoint. By harnessing the resources of academia and experts in public health, ASELPH is an academic approach to a developmental problem that broadly aims to strengthen the health system through building competent and effective public health institutions.



Since its inception in 2013, more than 300 health care managers have participated in the ASELPH programme at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Pretoria


134 ASELPH Fellows have graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Systems Management – Executive Leadership from the University of Pretoria


27 ASELPH Fellows have graduated with a Masters of Public Health from the University of Fort Hare


ASELPH Fellows represent all 9 provinces and 52 of the 54 health districts nationwide

Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa Minister of Health
"ASELPH marks a milestone in the development of human resources capacity and is highly significant for the overall performance of the national health system"
Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa Minister of Health