The Botshabelo community in the Free State has become one of the first beneficiaries of four Primary Healthcare Telemedicine Workstations that will be implemented at rural hospitals in conjunction with the Free State Department of Health.
The telemedicine workstation was developed by the Stellenbosch University and the Medical Research Council and funded by the Innovation Fund, an initiative of the Department of Science & Technology.
The partnership between the MTN SA Foundation and the Medical Research Council has realised the provision of realtime healthcare services through the innovative use of the Telemedicine Workstation to the rural and outlying communities of South Africa.
At the launch, deputy minister of Science & Technology Derek Hanekom emphasised the role of science and technology in assisting service departments to be able to work faster and smarter. He highlighted the need to look at alternative ways to provide specialist care and other medical interventions closer to the home of the patients by "bringing the doctor closer to the patient".
The president of the Medical Research Council, Prof Tony Mbewu, said: "Telemedicine technology allows patients to receive comprehensive care at a local clinic or hospital instead of being referred to a tertiary hospital with the appropriate services. This reduces the cost of unnecessary patient transfers and saves the patient valuable time and expenses when away from work or their family."
Chief corporate services officer of MTN SA, Zolisa Masiza, commented: "This partnership shows how effectively the government and the private sector can work together to solve the technical constraints that have negatively impacted on the service delivery of the healthcare sector."