ROAD TO WELLNESS

Western Cape Wellness Centres Pilot Initiative

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The strategic framework of the Western Cape Government Health (WCGH) is entitled Healthcare 2030: the Road to Wellness. This title marks a shift in the vision of the Provincial Government, moving away from perceiving health as the absence of disease toward a more holistic view of wellness, with an increased focus on prevention and promotion.

As part of the move towards wellness, and in line with the Healthcare 2030 principle of developing strategic partnerships, the Wellness Centres pilot is a joint venture between private health care providers and the Western Cape Government: Health. Through harnessing partnerships with the private sector, the initiative aims to improve access to preventive services to users who do not have access to such services via a medical scheme. The overarching goal is to decrease the burden of disease through opportunistic screening for common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors, as well as HIV testing, verbal TB screening, and the provision of health education.

The Wellness Centres initiative was launched by the preceding Minister of Health, Mr Theuns Botha in Mitchells Plain Hospital in March 2014. The purpose of the pilot is to refine the model, with a view to potential implementation across the province in the future.

In realising this goal, the Department identified geographical areas of need for the pilot phase. Six partners and 16 sites are participating in the pilot. The partners include (in alphabetical order): Clicks, Dischem, general practitioners (EMC), independent pharmacies (ICPA), Metropolitan Health (Alpha Pharm), Pebbles (headed by David Grier), and Pick n Pay.

Package of care

The Wellness Centres offers screening services for a user fee determined by the respective private providers.

The integrated package of services comprises: historical inquiry relating to cardiovascular and sexual risk, screening of NCDs and risk factors (BMI, blood pressure, finger-prick total cholesterol and finger-prick glucose), HIV testing, TB screening (verbal) and health education

The Department is providing HIV testing kits to the providers, on the understanding that a minimum of 10% of their operating hours are made available for free services. The initiative builds on the agreement with pharmacies to supply family planning and vaccines.

Benefits

Strengthening the relationships between public and private health care sectors


Increased access to preventive care


Decrease in patient waiting time


Decongestion of state facilities


For public health managers it means that we are able to focus on the core of our work—public health management—and the delivery of services are in the hands of the health sector, both public and private


For service providers the project has brought about a means to interact directly with Government, and access the database of the public health domain


The greater significance within the health sector is that the players in the public and private health domain are on one playing field, no longer as opponents, but as healthy competitors for the sake of a common denominator, namely improving the wellness and quality of life of all citizens through improved health services


Partnerships and Sponsorships

The Department is looking for partners and sponsorships of products to complement service delivery and improve service user uptake.

For example, incentivising screening and reducing or removing the service fee will expanding service coverage, access and uptake. In turn, this will strengthen the sustainability and scalability of the Western Cape Wellness Centres model.

For any further enquiries, kindly contact:

Inge Steenkamp, E-mail: inge.steenkamp@westerncape.gov.za or Tel: 021 483 8210

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