Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, has highlighted the importance of eHealth while unveiling plans for eGovernance – a technological way to deliver services to citizens.
While briefing the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on July 1st 2014, Minister Cwele highlighted the importance of eHealth in the rollout of National Health Insurance (NHI): “… There is eHealth and the starting phase will be in the pilot projects of the NHI, which will try to connect to those areas.”
10 NHI pilots have been underway across the country since late 2012. The pilots were implemented to strengthen the performance of the public health system in preparation for phased implementation of NHI, support implementation of service delivery interventions and improve health programmes, performance and access to services.
In previous eHealthNews reports it was revealed that eHealth was yet to be implemented in the Eden District and UMgungundlovu District, so Minister Cwele’s comments are a positive indication that this will soon change.
During the brief Minister Cwele also said it was important for the front line departments, like Home Affairs and Transport, to go digital in order to eliminate long queues and unnecessary paperwork. “The aim of eGovernance is to try to make sure that key government departments, where there is a public interface with the people, are connected in the long term,” Minister Cwele said.
This is in tune with the goal of the Western Cape’s 2030 Strategy to become more citizen-centric by harnessing mobile platforms for direct patient interaction.
Minister Cwele said that some of the other services that could be improved with going digital include the applications for smart IDs and licence disk renewals.
Minister Cwele also said there will also be a focus on making sure that there is connectivity in schools, rural areas and in areas where there are informal settlements.