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AfroCentric women who are shaping healthcare

This story is sponsored

AfroCentric Group, a black-owned JSE-listed holding company, is a leading provider of services and products to the healthcare sector

The Group prides itself on its in-depth understanding of the healthcare industry, thanks to employees of whom many are considered experts in their respective fields. 

This Women’s Month, AfroCentric is celebrating women in healthcare — on both a national and global scale — by highlighting some of the inspiring women in the Group. 

DR ANNA MOKGOKONG

Dr Anna Mokgokong, chairman of AfroCentric Group, embodies the Group’s commitment to transformation. Over the years, she’s been a pioneer, clearing the path for other women to take their place at the board table in a male-dominated space. She has served on numerous boards, including at Shoprite Holdings, where she was the first woman to become a director. 

She is a renowned business figure in South Africa and globally, with widespread experience in healthcare, academia and commerce.  

Mokgokong is recognised as a senior director of companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and in addition to AfroCentric and Shoprite, she also serves on the boards of Rebosis Property Fund Limited and Jasco Electronics Holdings Limited. In addition she serves on numerous non-listed entities, including Seriti Coal, which she chairs — the second-largest coal supplier to Eskom utility.

She has received numerous local and international accolades as a community and business leader, including SA Businesswoman of the Year (1999) and is one of the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World (1998). 

Most recently she received a LifeTime Achievement Award (2018) from Gauteng Premier David Makhura in the Township Entrepreneurship Awards.  

She has served on numerous councils of academic institutions as well as civil society commissions such as The Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, where she was appointed as Deputy Chairperson by former President Thabo Mbeki (from 2004-2009). She was also a Commissioner of the Interim National Defence Force Commission (SANDF) from 2009 to 2013.

She is a social activist and is passionate about women empowerment transformation to bring about equality in the economy of South Africa.

DR LUNGI NYATHI

Dr Lungi Nyathi, Executive Director: Medscheme and Afrocentric, qualified as a medical doctor from the University of Cape Town, and has completed several health economics and public health courses. 

Dr Lungi Nyathi, Executive Director: Medscheme and Afrocentric

She has worked extensively as a medical practitioner, in the private as well as the public sector in South Africa. Her other achievements include successfully leading the managed care business unit servicing the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) in Medscheme, and running the Aid for Aids (AfA) subsidiary of AfroCentric. 

Nyathi has also spent time providing strategic and clinical healthcare consulting to key role players in the health sector.  Currently, she specialises in health risk management (or managed care) strategy, with the aim of reducing the cost of healthcare. She is responsible for the ongoing development and enhancement of health risk management strategies and solutions, analytics, actuarial services, thought leadership, as well as public health strategy at the AfroCentric Group. She co-runs Medscheme as its Managing Executive: Clinical Risk and Advisory.

PIPPA ESCREET

Pippa Escreet is an Advanced Strategic Specialist: Business Development Wellness Odyssey, and has over 20 years of extensive commercial experience. She is well versed in the workings and challenges of the healthcare industry. 

Pippa Escreet is an Advanced Strategic Specialist: Business Development Wellness Odyssey

Her hands-on start in the industry has informed the overall business thinking within the Group for the better, and she provides a much-needed technical voice at stakeholder and board meetings. She enjoys translating healthcare complexities into user-friendly, operational and strategic milestones.

Pippa holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town, and an Accredited CDSMP Train-the-Trainer from Stanford University USA, among her numerous qualifications.

Some of Escreet’s responsibilities include the provision of employee wellness services to corporate clients and medical schemes, corporate strategy development, expansion of service categories, new product development e.g. health coaching at corporate events, line manager training courses, TB awareness training and Day Zero preparation.

Under her management, New Business Development has brought on board six new medical schemes so far, and proposed new services to existing clients.

DR ABONGILE QAMATA

Dr Abongile Qamata has always wanted to be a doctor. She graduated from the Walter Sisulu University at the age of 21 and proceeded to serve as a clinician in both the public and private South African health sectors for eight years, before venturing into Managed Care in 2013. 

Dr Abongile Qamata

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the currently hospi-centric healthcare delivery model – highlighting the shortcomings of in-hospital care as well as the opportunity for alternative solutions. Quality care at home can be affordable without compromising on clinical outcomes. Her current role as the lead in Alternatives to Hospitalisation at AfroCentric Group allows her to explore safe and cost-effective solutions to healthcare delivery outside of the traditional brick-and-mortar acute hospital facilities. 

Her passion lies in health and wellness, with a special interest in the role of nutrition and physical activity in the prevention and reversal of non-communicable diseases. 

One of Qamata’s ambitions is finding sustainable, innovative solutions to South Africa’s rising non-communicable disease burden. She is currently finalising her master’s in public health studies with the University of Stellenbosch and is now considering studying towards a PhD. 

Women such as Mokgokong, Nyathi, Escreet and Qamata are taking centre stage in South African healthcare, while paving the way for other women to follow. AfroCentric Group salutes you all this Women’s Month!

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