Using Mobile technologies to heighten South Africa’s Health System
If South Africa does not embrace the age of information and communication technologies in health care, it would result in further marginalizing South Africa’s Health System.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have a huge role to play in extending the reach, improving the quality and reducing the cost of health care in South Africa, this is according to Deputy Health Minister Doctor Gwen Ramokgopa.
Dr Ramokgopa further intimated that ICT’s have a huge role to play in the implementation and success of National Health Insurance (NHI). “The overall success of the National Health Insurance can be said to be critically dependent on the effective use of ICTs, and on the effective collaboration of the public, private, NGO, donor, and international health sectors.”
Ramokgopa says there are a number of existing organisations looking at different aspects of technology and health. However there has been no collaboration. “There is no existing forum that brings together all the different sectors and organisations for a frank and open discussion on the challenges and opportunities, especially mobile technologies, in improving health care delivery.” As South Africans we have to work together, she further described that focussing on strategies and not quick wins is detrimental. The Department of Health has been working on a eHealth Strategy for over 6 years and is in the process of presenting this to the National health Council. Due to this long process we have impeded the progress of eHealth. This should not be repeated hence this Stakeholder Forum is of paramount importance.
The general consensus is that there is a distinct need for a synergy of efforts from all stakeholders and that it should be led by neutral independent body. The meeting applauded the efforts of the Deputy Minister of Health for taking the lead and appointing the Medical Research Council as the Secretariat who will facilitate the process. In conclusion, Minister Ramokgopa says 8 to 10 people will be nominated for this forum. “That will guide its activities, raise issues, and review reports, under her leadership.”
Ms Jill Fortuin who is the ICT4H / eHealth Secretariat Director announced the 2 major conferences where the Deputy Minister of Health will be giving feedback about the progress and sharing the milestones projected for the next quarter. The Conferences include the ICT4Health Conference, Cape Town in September 2012 and GSMA Mobile Health Summit, Cape Town in May 2012.
Media Contact Person
Jill Fortuin (Medical Research Council)
021 938 0856
Debbie Raphuti (Assistant to Deputy Minister of Health)
083 649 4762