Demand for telemedicine solutions in South Africa thanks to infrastructural developments

A renewed focus on primary healthcare in South Africa is expected to give
momentum to telemedicine programs, as the Government rolls out the National
Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.

Uptake of telemedicine solutions, throughout the continent, is on the
rise due to infrastructural developments and the need to extend services to
under-served rural areas.

“Government recognition of the meaningful role that telemedicine can play in
strengthening primary care, will be key to its development. As the South
African Government revamps the country’s healthcare system, strengthening the
primary health system has been identified as a key priority to ensure the
successful implementation of the NHI,” said Ishe Zingoni, information &
communication technologies industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan

Of particular concern is the current shortage of doctors in rural areas, a
situation that has affected the delivery of effective primary healthcare.
Telemedicine can potentially alleviate this challenge, by making use of cost-effective
telecommunications technologies, to deliver healthcare services to patients in
rural areas.

Telecommunication issues, such as lack of connectivity and high costs are,
however, affecting the deployment of telemedicine in rural areas. Providing broadband
access in rural areas remains a challenge and transmission costs are high.
Innovative partnerships between government, telecom companies and other
participants can, however, be harnessed to create cost-effective telemedicine

Despite the tremendous progress witnessed in the field of telecommunications,
particularly from an infrastructural perspective, bandwidth costs remain high
in South Africa. The problem is that most of the infrastructure rolled out in
recent years has been in metropolitan areas, leaving rural areas with little or
no connectivity.

Public private partnerships (PPPs) have been identified as a potential solution
to this problem. The government could possibly partner with telecom companies to provide
cost-effective healthcare solutions.

By Team
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