Read the Conversation

EF: 2020 was the year of diagnostics, 2021 the year of vaccines; what will 2022 be the year of?

KM: In the past two years, many patients avoided hospitals due to the pandemic. This year will be the year of getting back to enhanced quality care for our patients across all touchpoints. A sudden influx of patients with other conditions will return to hospitals. Taking care of the backlog of patients and conditions created during the pandemic will be highly involved but it is a must.  

EF: If you were the healthcare spokesperson at the G7 summit, what message would you deliver to world leaders to make healthcare a top priority?

KM: People are now more health-conscious and more aware of their health. My message is to take care of acute care patients continuously. The second part of my message is to push for more preventative medicine. Healthcare needs to be at the top of the agenda.
In South Africa, both public and private healthcare face challenges regarding the delivery of services required by patients. South Africa has limited resources regarding specialized nurses, doctors, and other human capital resources. A collaborative effort between the public and private sectors is the key to addressing the back-to-care problems. The goal should be able to overcome the mistrust between the public and private sectors.  

EF: What advice would you give leaders to create continuity for the collaboration between the public and private sectors?

KM: Before the pandemic, we tried collaborating with the public sector. The collaborations established during the pandemic were successful because vaccines were limited. Because of pandemic casualties, many sectors had to work with their government, and it was a success.
It will not be easy to continue these collaborations because they require a major commitment from the public sector and willingness from the private sector. The private sector has its limitations, just like the public sector. However, when the two sectors collaborate, the limitations are minimized, and the impact maximized. The public sector should take a more initiative approach to work with the private sector. The health of the patient and the nation is a top priority.  

EF: What advice would you give other industry leaders regarding social responsibility?

KM: Many companies play a social responsibility role in many communities, making social responsibility a common trend. All the companies and sectors should take full responsibility for the South African unemployment rate.  
People need hope. Every single company can intervene and help the people in its community. A little goes a long way. The social and economic challenges in our country will change if every individual and corporation plays a role in the areas they operate.

EF: How will the trend of greater healthcare awareness on a patient level continue in the future?

KM: The lockdown in South Africa took a while to end, and this affected the economy. The lockdown was hard on many people. Many factors surrounding the lockdown negatively affected a lot of people. Therefore, mental health became an issue. Other countries accelerated vaccination programs to decrease the time they would be under lockdown. I believe South Africa could have better planned around the pandemic. We could have implemented vaccine drives earlier.  

In every household, an average of one person lost their job during the pandemic, and small businesses closed. This worsened the economy and the mental and physical health of many people. As a result of the increased burden on the economy, some daily necessities were affected.  

With the electricity situation, the load shortfall has increased many companies' expenses. The public sector takes care of the health of the majority of South Africans. This means things will get tough before they get better.  People end up making sacrifices. Such issues will continue affecting healthcare and health awareness. Reducing the burden on the economy will help increase health awareness and good physical and mental well-being.

EF: Can you elaborate on Clinix’s plans for artificial intelligence, and how will it improve the healthcare journey?

KM: Providing healthcare to the future is our mission. Most people now only go to hospitals when it is truly necessary. People now prefer at-home remedies and over-the-counter remedies.  

Moving forward, technology will play a major role in changing the way we deliver healthcare. Normal brick-and-mortar hospitals will no longer be the main healthcare centres. The shortage of practitioners means that Telemedicine is therefore an inevitable part of our future.

We will have a holistic approach to healthcare, integrating home care and primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare. Homecare is less capital intensive than building or managing hospitals and thus widening patients’ access to holistic care. Technology will guide the way we do healthcare. Many people are already monitoring their health through smartwatches and other technology. The logistics industry will expand exponentially as more people get their medicines, instruments, and other medical items delivered to their homes.  

EF: Clinix is celebrating 30 years this year, what will be the key factors in your celebration speech?

KM: The field we chose to operate in requires hard work, time, and effort. The key factor in my message is to take the company into a more sustainable future. For the past thirty years, we put everything we had into this business. It is now up to a new generation of employees to step up in order to grow and take Clinix to greater heights.  

Our hospital group is a training ground for people in township areas. We expose them to private healthcare. The more hospitals we acquire and/or build, the more equipped we will be - to not only deliver quality care but also address unemployment issues, making a big impact wherever we operate. Our company creates opportunities for less privileged people by offering them education, training, and employment within the healthcare industry. I am proud of the social impact we have made. However, we need to grow and learn to provide integrated healthcare services. Integrated platforms will accelerate patients’ access to healthcare.

As we look into the future, we need to go back to the drawing board and think carefully about how we want to provide healthcare to our people. Longevity is something that will become big in the future driving us to achieve our purpose of helping communities to live longer and healthier lives.  

EF: Is there anything else you would like to include?

KM: The public and private sectors need to train more healthcare providers. We need all the doctors we can get. The public and private sectors need to focus on the upskilling and retention of healthcare professionals and develop a plan to deliver consistent quality care to all patients.

July 2022
South Africa