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Cecil Lwana
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Getting rural healthcare right

29 May 2014, 20:25

In all the cities of the world there is no country I would rather call home than South Africa. The Southern African landscape is rich with both cultural and physical beauty, as seen by just gazing over the mines of Johannesburg down to the vineyards of the Western Cape I am certain of one truth South Africa is my mother. In as much as we have a country rich with diversity and beauty, disparities that tarnish the beauty of this country exist.

An unstable economy, rife corruption and a failing health care system at the hands of irresponsible and corrupt officials on the ground are just the kind of troubles that South Africans face. The burden of disease, exacerbated by the high prevalence and incidence of HIV pokes holes at a bucket that is barely containing leaks of an equitable democratic country.

Both urban dwellers and rural are hard hit by the realities that disturb our health system, but it is the latter that find themselves in clinics where gloves run out, basic medicines are stocked out and  healthcare staff is demoralised and eventually seeks greener pastures elsewhere.

Rural Health is my passion. It is these marginalised of our society, predominantly illiterate and poorly educated that have to suffer the severest consequences of the ills that plague our system. It is these citizens, whose loud cries are but whispers that get lost in the political winds that blow over the rural landscape.

But there is hope, there is hope when young leaders and visionaries pick up they shovels and axes and head out to mend this system one person at a time.

Taking from warrior men and women who went before us we will invest in a legacy that will outlive us. A legacy that began with the conscious efforts of health practitioners who simply said "ENOUGH is ENOUGH" change needs to happen, even if it means sacrificing a portion of your life to the seclusion of service in a rural area for a while. What does one have to lose? A mall, cinema trips and occasional night outs with the girls or guys at the nearest News Cafe?

It is sound minds and hearts like ours to which these silenced voices call, you and I. Leaders and pioneers of rural health care to be.

Will you join us or will you turn the blind eye?

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