Strengthening health systems through mobility

The state of our healthcare system has caused our people to lose trust in the system. An overwhelming amount of evidence points to various challenges that negatively impact the quality of healthcare available to the communities. Despite countless quality improvement programs initiated, adapted, modified and then tested by the government, none have produced the required level of quality service delivery needed by the public.

An improvement in health care would mean easy access, fewer errors, reduced delays in care delivery, improvement in efficiency, and lower cost. Despite the government’s attempts indicating otherwise, this can be achievable through the use of mobility.

What is mobility?

Mobility is the use of mobile vehicles to deliver services to people. A mobile clinic is an example of this. Mobile clinics transport and carry medical equipment required to treat patients directly from the mobile and are used in remote parts of the country where patients may struggle to find adequate healthcare. Let us look at three main challenges plaguing our healthcare system and how mobility can help address these challenges.

The distribution of health professionals between private and public health sectors and within different provinces is unequal.

With mobile clinics, distance is no longer a barrier to quality healthcare. The government can send mobile clinics to areas with a shortage of staff or remote areas where the nearest hospital or clinic is a few kms away.

Lack of Doctors at clinics and variability in skill sets between rural and urban areas.

With mobile clinics and telemedicine (connecting patients to vital health care services through technology), specialist doctors can help nurses consult patients with conditions that require their expert opinion.

Poor-record keeping

Sometimes, patients’ folders go missing or lost and in worst-case scenarios, this creates complications that may lead to an incorrect diagnosis or, worse, the death of a patient. Equipping mobile units with the latest technology can help minimise this challenge, creating a mobile ecosystem where service delivery is the focus and mobility is the solution.

An added benefit of making use of mobile clinics is the cost-effectiveness. Investing in mobile units that can be dispatched to different parts of the country as needed instead of investing in brick-and-mortar facilities makes financial sense. In addition, the mobile units can be serviced quickly and as regularly as needed to avoid deterioration.

The World Health Oorganisation (WHO) defines overall health system outcomes as “improving health and health equity in ways that are responsive, financially fair and make the best, or most efficient, use of available resources.” Mobility does precisely this. By using Mobile clinics in conjunction with the latest technology, the government can:

  • Ensure that all have access to quality health care regardless of where they are located.  
  • Provide a cost-effective solution to the health system crisis. 
  • Give citizens the quality-of-service delivery they need.

As Guud we continue to strive to provide organisations with mobility healthcare solutions to better improve communities around South Africa, Africa and beyond. If you would like to chat to someone on our team, please click the chat button in the bottom right.

A mobile solution to government backlogs

  • Request time off from work.
  • The system is offline.
  • A lengthy line spanning down blocks of buildings.
  • A wait time of 2-3 hours.

This is the official starter pack for dealing with any governmental department. Unfortunately, at some point in our lives, we will have to either visit the Department of Home Affairs, the Traffic Department, or the Department of Labour. Some may even have the misfortune of having to see all three in one year.

COVID-19 played a role in worsening the backlogs experienced across all governmental administrative services resulting in the implementation of grace periods for expired documentation like visas, driver’s licenses, etc. Regardless of the challenges caused by COVID-19, governmental administration departments are notoriously understaffed and wrestle with an archaic IT system. There is also the problem of supply and demand, with a supply (number of governmental administration offices) that cannot meet the demand for services. Departments situated within cities often service people within that area as well as citizens from decentralised or rural areas, putting pressure on the departments.

To give credit where it is due, the government has tried to implement measures to help operate efficiently, however their attempts to solve backlogs often tackle just the most visible challenges, rather than the underlying causes. One of these measures is the eHome Affairs system & BABs (Branch Appointment Booking System). These solutions aim to reduce the queue lines however, it is virtually impossible to get a booking slot on eHome affairs for your passport and the BABs system was recently extended to only 56 Home Affairs offices, not to mention that these systems are only available to citizens who require select services.

It has become quite apparent that providing an efficient online service is not one of the government’s strengths. Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that “the department also plans to introduce branches in shopping centres to ease the load on current offices” but brick-and-mortar facilities may not be the best solution.

Citizens have become accustomed to extraordinary fast and efficient service within the private sector, and through a private and public partnership this level of service can be accessible to the people via the deployment of mobile units.

Implementing mobile units for each department can aid in relieving the government’s immense backlog issues. Additional benefits include:

  • Flexibility – The efficiency of deploying mobile units where the demand for services is high (is an added advantage over brick-and-mortar facilities).
  • Efficiency – The Mobile can easily be equipped with the necessary technology to get the jobs done faster and efficiently.
  • Servicing citizens with “simple” services like obtaining an ID, passport, renewal of driver’s licences, etc. can allow these departments to focus on more complex services that do not take weeks to finalise.
  • Relief of overworked staff.

How would it work?

Mobile units would be deployed across the country both in underserved and central communities. This would provide citizens with various location options to get the services they need without having to travel great distances to do so. Working alongside government staff, the mobile units will be used to reduce waiting times, lengthy queues, and overall backlog experienced by these departments.

By making use of mobiles, the government will be able to efficiently help not only citizens from decentralised areas but relieve the demand for services in cities. This is a cost-effective solution that allows Governments to allocate mobiles as per the fluctuating demand of services – taking the services to the people.