Home > News > Public Health Updated 29 January 2014 True healthcare: people caring about people Hi-tech and new drugs are important to improve healthcare but less so than innovations focused on people. 0 Inclusive Healthcare Innovation Summit ~ This is a strong theme emerging at the International Health Innovations Summit in Cape Town this week:"The core of healthcare is people caring for people; otherwise we're missing the point, said Dr Ben Gaunt, Clinical Manager at Zithulele Hospital, which serves one of the poorest parts of the country on the wild coast in the former Transkei."Often," said Gaunt, "it's not rocket science. Improvements can come about by doing little things." He used the example of pre-packaging anti-retroviral medications for patients with HIV-Aids: "This was an opportunity, not just to get medication to patients more efficiently, but to also manage other aspects of their care."Dr Vuyani Mhlomi, currently working at a hospital in Uniondale in the Klein Karoo, said that we need to move away from a "us and them" mentality, when it comes to the responsibility of focusing on healthcare for the poor:"Healthcare should be tailored for 'us', but made available to 'them'. The rural centres should get the same quality healthcare the larger urban areas are receiving in the Western Cape. That said, we must appreciate the diversity of our health situation."Mhlomi added that there is a need to shift focus from curing to preventative healthcare, and in so doing save money yet achieve greater results."Education is key to disease prevention. In poor areas, kids as young as 10 are smoking, and lifestyle diseases like diabetes are being diagnosed by age 30," said Mhlomi.Fancy machines 'collect dust'Sascha Stevenson, human rights lawyer at Section27, stressed that innovation must mean improvement to health service access:"Access is related to locaton, socio-economic status and luck. Patients' biggest complaints are that they have to wait a long time at clinics or hospitals, and must pay a lot for transport. These are not hi-tech problems which necessarily have hi-tech solutions."Stevenson believes that one key area for improvement is to provide community healthcare workers with greater support.Lolly Mashao, a midwife working in Limpopo province, iterated this:"Fancy machines often end up collecting dust. Supporting and educating nurses and midwives, and training and placing them appropriately according to their individual passion for a particular kind of work, may save more lives. Machines are useful, but they must be carefully chosen, must last, and must have people trained to use them. In Africa, solutions lie with the human resource." - Olivia Rose-Innes NEXT ON HEALTH24X 'Those who die of HIV, it's by choice," tweets Limpopo Health dept 2018-07-17 07:00 More: NewsPublic Health advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news News 'Those who die of HIV, it's by choice," tweets Limpopo Health dept Medical The pros and cons of 4 sleeping positions Medical 7 facts you probably didn’t know about hearing aids Medical This man was constipated for 22 years Diet and nutrition What energy drink in SA is the worst for you? Medical Can allergies really cause mental health issues? From our sponsors Tell-tale signs you need a mattress upgrade Keen to win a R2 000 voucher? Good health begins in your gastrointestinal tract ACC 200 works fast to break down mucus Live healthier Contraceptives and you » Scientists create new contraceptive from seaweed Poor long-term birth control training leads to 'accidents' 7 birth control myths you should stop believing Will the Pill make you gain weight? Can you fall pregnant while breastfeeding? We bust seven common myths about birth control. Your digestive health » Causes of digestive disorders 9 habits that could hurt your digestive system Your tummy rumblings might help diagnose bowel disorder With the assistance of an 'acoustic belt', doctors can now determine the cause of your tummy troubles.