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The Discovery Foundation supports and recognises private healthcare innovation and excellence

Press Release   •   Jul 25, 2013 10:54 GMT

News release from Discovery

Discovery Foundation announces new initiative to support healthcare in South Africa

·  New annual awards launched to recognise and support ongoing excellence in SA’s private healthcare sector

·  A commitment from the Discovery Foundation to build our country’s healthcare system

·  Winners of the awards will benefit from international physician leadership training at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic in USA

·  Discovery Foundation aims to meet the need of training more specialists in SA with a commitment of more than R150 million over 10 years

24 July 2013 – The Discovery Foundation today announced a series of annual awards aimed at recognising and supporting ongoing excellence in South Africa’s private healthcare sector. Started in 2006 in response to the need to train more specialists for our public sector, the Discovery Foundation has made headway in helping to train an additional 213 specialists in scarce medical fields. Over a 10-year period, the Foundation’s investment is expected to exceed R150 million and to date over R106 million has been invested.

The new series of awards, the Discovery Foundation Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Private Healthcare, builds on the Foundation’s commitment to South Africa’s healthcare sector.  It aims to showcase those healthcare professionals who are delivering outstanding patient care, excellence and innovation in the private sector.  The awards will promote the ongoing development of clinical quality, leadership and health systems improvement in South Africa. Initiatives that improve quality of care and efficiency in both the public and the private sector will significantly enhance the ability of the overall health system to meet its objectives of providing universal health coverage to all South Africans. The awards aim to develop leaders in both sectors to encourage innovation and to contribute towards the retention of doctors in South Africa.

The Discovery Foundation is an independent trust set up by Discovery Limited with the primary objective of investing in healthcare resources in South Africa. Dr Vincent Maphai, chairperson of the Discovery Foundation, explained the rationale behind the Discovery Foundation’s financial investment; “Investing in healthcare resources is critical to address the severe shortage of medical specialists in South Africa, particularly in the underserved public sector and rural areas. Even more pressing is the need to support research and academia as well as the need to recognise doctors who are currently doing excellent work. This is a critical component of building a strong and sustainable healthcare system for future generations in South Africa and a need recognised and expressed by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. The Discovery Foundation’s vision and mandate is to support this national priority with a financial investment in developing human resources in our country.”

The Discovery Foundation continues to look at opportunities to broaden its investment and impact in the healthcare sector. More recently, The Foundation introduced a doctoral and post-doctoral programme in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, which has the largest hospital based research programme in the United States and is recognised as being a global leader in clinical research. The first recipient of the award, Dr Neliswa Gogela from the University of Cape Town, will spend a year in Boston doing further research and training in liver disease and transplantation, a medical discipline that is still in its infancy in South Africa.

The new awards category is in line with the global trend of developing leadership capability in healthcare. In light of healthcare reforms that are reshaping many of the world’s healthcare systems, healthcare professionals must remain at the forefront of these issues. A number of the preeminent healthcare institutions have developed physician leadership courses in support of this trend.  The winners of these new Discovery Foundation awards will participate in learning experience at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, United States, as part of a physician leadership course uniquely customised to address the challenges facing the South African healthcare system.

Prof Morgan Chetty, Chairperson of the Independent Practitioners Association of South Africa, commented on the initiative; “Initiatives such as the Discovery Foundation Awards play an important role in making sure we are able to deliver quality healthcare to all South Africans. We have an excellent private healthcare sector, and support for doctors that come in the form of recognition and a quality international learning experience, are invaluable in helping to build our country’s healthcare sector.”

Notes to the editor:

·  The Discovery Foundation is an independent trust set up by Discovery Limited with the primary objective of investing in healthcare resources in South Africa

·  Through a series of annual awards and grants, the Foundation invests in specialist training, clinical research, rural healthcare and healthcare leadership

·  To date it has invested over R106 million in the training of 213 recipients, including the recipients of 2013.

·  Recipients train in a variety of medical fields, including TB, HIV, paediatric care, virology, cardiology and oncology

·  46 PhDs and 55 MMed degrees have been funded

·  Three sub-categories have been included in the award category for healthcare professionals in the private sector (Discovery Foundation Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Private Healthcare)

·  Winners of the private sector awards will receive funding for a NGO or institution working to the benefit of healthcare in South Africa. These winners will also join an international learning experience at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA in a medical discipline of their choice

·  Entries are currently open and will close on 31 August 2013. Interested parties can visit for more information on the nomination process, criteria and assessment

·  Recipients of the 2013 Discovery Foundation Awards will be announced at a gala dinner on 9 October 2013


For more information, please contact:

Mr Sim Mzaidume

Media Relations Consultant, Discover
T: +27 11 529 1947
C: +27 83 750 2208

Discovery information

About Discovery Limited

Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment products and wellness markets. Founded in 1992 by the current Group Chief Executive Officer Adrian Gore, Discovery was guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. Underpinning this core purpose is the belief that through innovation Discovery can be a powerful market disruptor.

The company, with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, has expanded its operations globally and currently serves over 6.1 million clients across South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, China and Singapore. Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution for individuals and corporates. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds five million lives.

Discovery is an authorised financial services provider. It is listed among South Africa’s Top 40 companies on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange and trades under the code “DSY”.

South African operations

Discovery Health

  • Launched in 1992, Discovery Health isSouth Africa’s largest healthcare funder and manager of medical schemes. It manages 14 medical schemes.
  • This includes the Discovery Health Medical Scheme, which has a 51% share in the open medical schemes market, making it South Africa’s largest open medical scheme.
  • The Discovery Health Medical Scheme covers more than 2.4 million lives.
  •  The Scheme is the only one in South Africa to enjoy an AA+ rating for its claims paying ability, the highest possible credit rating from international rating agency Global Credit Ratings. The Scheme has maintained this rating for 12 consecutive years.
  • The Discovery Health Medical Scheme holds over R8.2 billion in reserves.
  • Discovery Health pioneered consumer-driven healthcare in South Africa with the introduction of innovations like the Medical Savings Account and its wellness programme, Vitality.
  • Discovery Health is continuously innovating new products and tools to enhance the quality of care members receive, including HealthID, an iPad-based application for doctors launched in 2012. The HealthID application is also available on Android mobile devices.
  • Discovery Health was voted the top medical aid brand in the Sunday Times Top Brands survey for both 2010 and 2011.
  • Discovery Health was voted the top healthcare product supplier at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Awards.
  • In 2012, the PricewaterhouseCoopers fifth biennial Strategic and Emerging Issues in South African Insurance survey rated Discovery Health’s insurance products as the leader in the industry.

Discovery Life

  • Discovery Life was launched in 2000 and is South Africa’s fastest growing major life assurer in the risk market, having captured 25% of the overall risk broker market.
  • It was the first South African insurer to separate risk from investment, leading significant change in the industry.
  • With 364 887 individual policies, the embedded value of its business is now more than R17 billion including Discovery Invest.
  • Discovery Life addresses the problem of underinsurance through its unique integrated operating model and through innovative product development.
  • Discovery Life was voted the top life assurer in the Sunday Times Top Brands survey for both 2010 and 2011.
  • Discovery Life was voted the top risk and life assurance supplier at the 2010 Financial Intermediaries’ Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Awards and the top long-term insurer: recurring savings at the 2011 and 2012 FIA Awards.
  • In 2012, the PricewaterhouseCoopers fifth biennial Strategic and Emerging Issues in South African Insurance survey rated Discovery Life’s life products as the leader in the industry.

Discovery Invest 

  • Discovery Invest was launched in 2007 and declared its maiden profit in 2010.
  • Discovery Invest combines the breadth and skill of the asset management industry with the existing research and development capabilities of Discovery Life.
  • The company offers consumers a unique and comprehensive product range that addresses the current gaps in the market by offering greater protection against poor investment choices.
  • With 74 327 policies, Discovery Invest now has more than R26.6 billion in assets under management.
  • Through Discovery Invest’s LISP platform, clients have access to over 329 local and 65 offshore investment funds.
  • Discovery Invest is now the largest writer of endowment policies in South Africa with a 21% market share.
  • In 2011, Discovery Invest received the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) award for best recurring premium business.

Discovery Insure

  • Discovery Insure was launched in May 2011 and now has 27 973 policyholders.
  • This pioneering product was created by leveraging the behavioural expertise developed in the Vitality programme with the latest telematics technology.
  • The unique Vitalitydrive programme encourages and rewards better driving behaviour and ensuring that vehicles are roadworthy.
  • At the heart of Vitalitydrive is the DQ-Track telematics device that measures and reports crucial aspects of driving behaviour.
  • Vitalitydrive provides up to 50% fuel rewards on clients’ monthly BP fuel spend.
  • Young adults between 18 and 25 can receive further discounts of up to 25% on their motor premiums.
  • Discovery Insure offers comprehensive vehicle, personal and household cover.
Discovery Vitality

  • Launched in October 1997, Vitality is Discovery’s science-based wellness programme that underpins each of the Discovery businesses and is an international brand in its own right.
  • It is the largest programme of its kind in the world, with a global membership base of over five million. 
  • Vitality encourages healthy behaviours that reduce long-term healthcare costs by rewarding members for improving their health.
  • There are now more than 1.6 million Vitality members in South Africa.
  • Vitality is accredited by the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.
  • The Vitality value offering is enhanced by the DiscoveryCard, Discovery’s unique Visa credit card which gives members real cash back.
  • Launched in October 2004, the DiscoveryCard is South Africa’s largest non-bank new generation credit card in issue, with an 8.9% share of point-of-sales spend. There are now 231 302 primary cardholders.
  • The HealthyLiving benefit offers Vitality members up to 25% cash back on HealthyCare products at Clicks, HealthyGear at adidas and TotalSports stores, and HealthyFood items at Pick n Pay.
  • Vitality now has the ability to integrate into over 100 fitness tracking technologies.

International operations

United Kingdom

In the UK, Discovery has a 75% shareholding in a joint venture with Prudential plc. Through PruHealth and PruProtect, the company offers healthcare cover and protection products.


  • Launched in April 2004, PruHealth is the fourth largest Private Medical Insurer in the UK and the only one that rewards people for leading a healthy lifestyle.
  • PruHealth now covers 548 970 lives.
  • It offers consumer-directed products linked to the Vitality wellness programme.
  • In 2010, Discovery acquired Standard Life Healthcare, thereby leveraging the significant assets of both companies and resulting in greater scale for PruHealth.
  • PruHealth has won several awards for its product innovations.


  • PruProtect, which was launched in September 2007, markets consumer-engaged life assurance products in the UK market.
  • The company’s products integrate with those of PruHealth and Vitality to unlock added value and significant premium savings for clients.
  • The company has become a major player in the UK protection market. With 136 164 policies in force, it now covers 163 566 lives.
  • PruProtect has received industry recognition, including awards in four categories at the 2011 Defacto Awards. The company was also named Best Individual Protection Provider in 2011 by Professional Adviser, and walked off with the Innovation Award at the 2011 Protection Review.

United States

The Vitality Group

  • The Vitality Group was launched in 2007 and offers a stand-alone version of the Vitality programme to self-insured, large employer groups and to healthcare carriers.
  • Discovery holds a 75% share in The Vitality Group, 25% being held by Humana Inc.
  • The Vitality Group now covers 293 674 lives.
  • The Vitality Group has entered into a partnership with Wellness and Prevention, a subsidiary of Johnson&Johnson, the world’s premier consumer health company.
  • The Vitality Group recently announced a partnership with ADP, one of the world’s largest providers of payroll and employee benefits administration solutions.
  • In 2011, the group was awarded the C Everett Koop National Health Award for its work with Alcon Laboratories, a highly prestigious award recognising outstanding workplace health improvement programmes.


  • Launched in February 2011, HumanaVitality is a joint venture between Humana Inc and Discovery (through The Vitality Group) that makes Vitality available to Humana clients with commercial medical plans.
  • Discovery holds a 25% share in HumanaVitality.
  • Humana is the third largest US insurer, based on revenue. Humana has approximately 11.8 million medical members and 7.7 million specialty members.
  • HumanaVitality now has more than 1.5 million Vitality members.


Ping An Health

  • Ping An Health was launched in China in 2009, after Discovery acquired a 20% share in Ping An Health Insurance Co of China Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China.
  • Ping An Insurance is China’s leading insurer and the second largest insurer in the world.
  • The joint venture will see Discovery’s product innovation and consumer-engaged model exported to a potential market of 83 million families.
  • Vitality was launched in China through Ping An Health in June 2012.


AIA Vitality

  • AIA Vitality was launched in Singapore in July 2013, after a strategic joint venture between AIA Group Limited and Discovery Limited that aims to introduce Discovery’s successful wellness-based life insurance model to the Asia-Pacific region.
  • AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group and holds leading positions across the majority of its markets. It has operations in 17 markets in Asia-Pacific and has operated in Singapore for more than 80 years.
  • AIA serves the holders of more than 25 million individual policies and over 13 million participating members of group insurance schemes.
  • The investment to be made in AIA Vitality by Discovery is expected to fall within Discovery’s strategic framework of less than 5% of pre-tax profits for new business development. 

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