South Africa’s healthcare system is severely understaffed. Estimates suggest there is one doctor in the public healthcare sector for every 2,400 patients, while there is around one doctor for every 500 patients in the private healthcare sector..
But other factors make accessing healthcare challenging for the average South African. Private healthcare services often come at an unsustainable cost, there are inadequate and poorly managed resources at State facilities, and too few healthcare providers – particularly in the primary healthcare space, says Dr Sam Fee, clinical director of Primary Care of Epione Health Village Rosebank.
“This challenge needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Our socio-economic divide is starkly represented in our fractured healthcare space. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made things worse - laying bare the already inadequate State medical system, a burnt-out workforce, and highlighting a private healthcare system further out of reach,” says Fee.
To address the challenge of access to healthcare, Epione Health Village Rosebank (EHVR) has launched the Second Saturday Basic Health Screening initiative.
The Second Saturday Basic Health Screening initiative will see the Epione Health Village Rosebank opening its doors to those who cannot afford private healthcare. They will be able to have a free consultation with Fee, Dr Sian Basnett and Dr Darren Nyoni.
The initiative aims to provide accessible, affordable, sustainable, and quality healthcare to the surrounding community.
“Doctors and volunteers will register attendees as members of our health village, record necessary history and health concerns, and conduct several basic health checks, including blood glucose, BMI, blood pressure, and sexually transmitted infections (STI) screening. We will provide the basic consumables required from our day-to-day operations budget, but we are hoping to partner with CSI programs to expand and sustain this offering,” says Fee.
Where required, patients will be referred to higher levels of care or State facilities for further treatment or diagnosis.
For continuity of care, patients can return to Epione Health Village Rosebank for a follow-up the next month or sooner at a reduced consultation fee.
“At Epione Health Village Rosebank, we believe that providing healthcare is the highest expression of humanity. We believe that everyone should have access to a welcoming and inclusive space where they can express vulnerability without judgement and receive appropriate care regardless of their ability to pay. Our primary healthcare doctors are committed to providing the best healthcare they can to all members of our community, and we are looking at various business models to make this vision sustainable,” says Garikai Govati, director at EHVR.