oa South African Health Review - Health technology for equitable access to quality health services
Health technology (HT) is an important part of health systems, the acquisition, assessment, management and costs of which have brought about increasing challenges in delivery of healthcare services. In order to address the high levels and wasteful use of HT, the National Department of Health published a Framework for Health Technology Policies in 2001, following this with a draft National Health Technology Strategy document in 2005. The key outcomes envisaged in these documents are discussed against the backdrop of South Africa's high burden of disease and resource constraints in the public healthcare sector. The imminent piloting and implementation of National Health Insurance and Government's renewed drive for improved access to quality health care for all have placed HT firmly in the spotlight.
This chapter looks at some of the HT challenges and what improvements can be made in the key areas of prioritisation of public HT needs, HT management, HT regulation, HT innovation and public-private partnerships. It is notable that the long-awaited national audit of assets in public health facilities has commenced and is scheduled for completion in 2012. The inventory arising from this audit will provide the basis for effective asset management, including facilitating scheduling of preventative maintenance and providing financial information to support budget proposals and procurement requests. A further development has been the establishment of a Medical Devices Innovation Platform to harness and integrate skills and expertise from a number of universities and research institutions in the country. Promotion and pursuit of HT innovations present South Africa with an opportunity to build capacity to solve health challenges, and thus to have a positive impact on health and development.
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