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EF: 2020 was the year of diagnostics, and 2021 year of vaccines. What do you think 2022 will be the year of?
EE: It's a year engulfed in supply chain issues, and fuel shortages, which lead to an increasingly high cost of cheap living around the world. As it all unfolds, there isn't enough supply to quench the demands thirst.
EF: As a healthcare spokesperson at the G-7 Summit, what message would you deliver?
EE: Healthcare as the only service to the human body should be given priority in equal measures across the world. In that faith, partnering with various governments in Africa to invest in manufacturing plants that are profit-oriented and sustainable to help distribute healthcare in remote sub-Saharan Africa while creating employment for the local market. A step that would see big pharma enter all the 54 African markets.
EF: How does South Africa contribute to GE Healthcare's success?
EE: GE Healthcare is a specialist-rich organization that is successful globally and academically. It's an organization that is ahead of its peers by years, boasting of its advanced genome sequencing and disease management systems, manufacturing and distributing pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Therefore, there is a good amount of learning that can be done in South Africa. Despite there being a public sector challenge, the private sector is one to admire as it partners with us in doing some great work in rural healthcare and subnational health systems.
EF: GE Healthcare is set to become a standalone company next year. How will your independence affect the strategic approach to the company?
EE: It's a great step to be listed as an independent standalone healthcare company, which makes us one of the largest healthcare companies, which is a very positive aspect of the organization. Being independent provides an avenue to make decisions and solve problems technologically, it's an added list to our bucket. We will be compared to big names like J&J, proving our eligibility as a big and strong healthcare business.
EF: Can you elaborate on the company’s partnership and initiative with Afya affect healthcare?
EE: Partnerships as the future of business is a lesson that we've learnt during the pandemic. In line with that, our partnership with Microsoft and others plays a great role in bringing innovation to our customers and small startups in the healthcare industry as well as offering value to the government partners in strengthening their healthcare systems. Afya presents opportunities to follow up on your radiological data, and share from anywhere since it's more practical, more efficient, and more effective. You're totally in control of it as a patient, which is good for business. By empowering these startups, we will be adding value and growth to the economies in the market.
EF: How does digitalization contribute to the future of healthcare in South Africa?
EE: South Africa is one of the most advanced healthcare environments in the world. With digitalization, this great treasure can be accessible throughout the globe. This way, a patient doesn’t have to visit a doctor in person since they can just share their x-rays in privacy, which can help mitigate the risk and actually focus on what’s best for the patient. The clinical patient and doctor are both happy and ready to explore the innovation it is.
EF: What is your perspective on the integrity of preventative approaches in South Africa?
EE: Prevention is better than cure; it's important to identify problems early to increase the chances of recovery, which is cost-effective and safe. This is an approach that can work well, especially in economies like South Africa where the supply of healthcare facilities and infrastructure is below the demand. This program can be rolled out of the hospital, in communities, to serve many more people. This will work under the Private-Public-Partnership, for system strengthening and improvement of patient outcomes and recovery.
EF: Can you elaborate on the impact of GE in South Africa?
EE: South Africa was GE’s first export market outside of the U.S.; therefore, we have a huge footprint on the public, and we don't take that for granted. We embrace and have invested in gender equality, embracing diversity, we're creative and innovative and able to adapt to the market of our people. We've positioned ourselves as leaders in oncology, cardiology, women's health and radiology. We're a digital organization that solves various problems in the right way and in record time. Our unwavering commitment to embedding artificial intelligence has made it possible to reduce the burden and burnout of clinicians. We will continue to partner with companies that are relentlessly building algorithms that can have a positive impact on the healthcare sector.
EF: At the end of 2022, what will you be celebrating?
EE: Our mission and goal are to deliver during these tough times to our patients, create great relationships with our customers, be available, and flexible, and offer a listening ear to our partners as we strive to serve South Africans and the healthcare system at large. This is a routine that we intend to follow faithfully.