Innovation summit offers hope for health

CAPE TOWN - South Africa faces numerous challenges in its public healthcare system.

But in the run up to the Inclusive Healthcare Innovation Summit, which kicks off in Cape Town on Wednesday, doctors and technicians from around the world have joined forces in the hope of providing creative healthcare solutions.

Lindi van Niekerk of Inclusive Healthcare Innovation  says “We are expecting 300 delegates, about 50 speakers and lots of international delegates to attend and are ready to launch the initiative to create a platform to focus on healthcare renovations”

Five semifinalists were selected in a competition to participate in the finals with the winning innovation to be announced at the summit.

Dr. Peter Raubenheimer at Groote Schuur hospital says "This is an event to illustrate actually what can be achieved when you put completely different people in the same room, clinicians and doctors who know nothing about technical things and techies who know nothing about patients."

Fazyln Peterson, a type-one diabetes patient carrying her first baby, who is part of a group producing a cellphone app for diabetics, says the app aims “"to set reminders for you to test your blood sugars where you can be able to record it and then for you to be able to take your phone to the clinic and show your doctor what your sugar levels are."

A number of prototypes are on display at the summit, including Google Glass, a wearable computing device with an optical head-mounted display which may be used in the medical field in future.

Physician Ismael Nabeel says “We have done some experimenting back home in the US and used this technology (Google Glass)  and basically facilitated a conversation between a surgeon and medical students and other consultants and the images can be transmitted in real time, live."

* Athi Mthongana reports from Cape Town for eNCA