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Mediclinic News : 'Holistic approach to health care vital'

Title

'Holistic approach to health care vital'

Date

2016-08-26

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News Description

PRETORIA NEWS Expert: look at people before they become patients A shift back to the basics and considering patients as holistic beings was the way to go as the country sought to provide universal access to quality health care, experts at a conference on health care agreed yesterday. They said patients were more than just people who arrived at hospitals with one illness or the other. "We need to think about the person and who they are, even before they become our patients," chairman of the board of office of Health Standards Compliance, Professor Lizo Mazwai, said. Doctors had to take into account what people went through when they had to go to hospital. "How many rivers do they cross, how many buses or taxis do they take, how much money must they use... think about that before telling a patient to come (back) to hospital," he said. Mazwai, a general practitioner and surgeon in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, said focusing on diseases and hospital care was one of the biggest let downs in the history of health care in the country. There was a need to emphasise community based care, a system which meant people were known before they got sick, had profiles on home life before they went to hospital. Mazwai was a member of a panel of experts at a Discovery Foundation conference, where he told the gathering of health practitioners that people shouldn't be allowed to get so sick that they had to go to hospital. The conference discussed the possibilities and realities of quality health care to all South Africans. The conference had brought together public and private health practitioners across all areas of health, under the theme: Achieving Universal Access to Quality Healthcare. Mazwai told the participants of a time when social workers sat in hospitals to concentrate on the social lives of patients. "Hospitals had pursers who gave them money to go back home if they needed it to avoid them overstaying in hospital longer than they had to," he said. Understanding what patients needed would also change perspectives and guide health authorities in the right direction towards providing quality health care, Department of Health deputy director general Dr Anban Pillay said: "When patients identify quality health care aspects they mention staff attitudes, cleanliness and the environment they must recuperate in." Health care providers had to take patient input into consideration because they knew what they needed. "While we take care of the clinical aspects of quality care, we must not impose our ideas on (patients)," he said. Pillay outlined the profile of health care in the country, and said the burden was a double edged sword: "We have diseases of the developed world and diseases of developing countries, and this is a major challenge other countries in the world do not have to deal with." There were lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension, and then there were communicable diseases like HIV/Aids, TB, along with trauma and accidents, Pillay said. "We have to provide health care to both sides of the disease profile." And that was what the National Health Insurance (NHI) sought to do, he added. It was still in the first phase of a 14 year process which would ensure every South African had access to quality care, no matter their social standing or economic means. The finance model would include pooling contributions from everyone who had the means. The rich will subsidise the poor: "If one sector of society is sick and unable to get adequate treatment they cannot contribute economically, and that affects the productivity of the other sector" he said. Discovery Health's Dr Ryan Noach called for decisive steps towards universal care. The big question was funding, he said. He said Discovery Health had initiated a team based care to deal with the fragmentation, a system which ensured communication between practitioners, between facilities and specialists. "There has to be a linkage between health caregivers and this is a prerequisite in the provision of quality health care," Noach said. The continued training of health practitioners was also emphasised, and practitioners lamented the rising numbers of medico legal cases. They posed a looming barrier to the provision of quality health care. But comprehensive health care was the aspect all agreed upon. "Sometimes patients do not speak of the appreciation for surgery and other lifesaving procedures in hospitals," said Mazwai. The aftercare, the treatment by staff, the state of their beds and the blankets and the dignity with which they were treated sometimes went further in the perception of quality health care.
Created at 2016/09/01 10:04 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/09/01 10:05 AM by Mediclinic