Day 1 at HSS symposium highlights primary healthcare

The Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) Symposium touched on many interesting issues on its first day on Wednesday, August 28. Primary healthcare (PHC), good leadership and quality improvement and costs in medicine all made themselves heard.

Addressing HSS and its effectiveness, Prof CC Jinabhai talked about the importance of good leadership and management with ward based outreach teams (WBOTs).

"PHC re-engineering and WOBT offer co-ordinated strategy for strengthening access to PHC services." He also added that leadership produces change and movement and management produces order and consistency."

HIV clinician Dr Sindi van Zyl emphasised her passion for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and how every patient counts, we need to remember that and be empathetic to their needs and give them hope. "Primary healthcare must me made more personal. I use social media to connect one-on-one with patients, which has proven very successful. Many mothers who are told they are HIV-positive for the first time need support."

Dr John Fieno from USAID, who is a huge funder of NGOs, including Anova, within health services in South Africa, says there is alot of pressure to deliver services now and that is a tension that exists in all countries. He acknowledged that there are new paths to learning and we need to be more aggressive in using new technologies to reach more people.

Mr John Gibbs frorm Price Waterhouse Coopers in the UK, spoke about private, public partnerships (PPPs) in healthcare and how in order for it to work effectivley, we need government to be an intelligent buyer. He added: "The public sector can be an effective partner, we are half way need to look at what PPPs model works for your country."

Prof Coovadia spoke with passion when he addressed the conference, saying that "we as South Africans should be proud of how we are managing HIV and of how fare we have come, we have made huge advancements especially in PMTCT".

Prof Coovadia emphasised social protection in attaining better health outcomes and reminded the delegates that a decent standard of living, food security and early childhood development is vital.

To improve the lives of others, Coovadia said that: "We need an effective government, that propels everything else...We need to stop thinking in silos and work together to solve problems. Nobody must have absence of care."

Check out some photos here.


Check out the programme here.

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