The Netherlands Consulate General’s continued effort to foster bold partnerships in key sectors through their #cocreateSA campaign, was visible in a recent masterclass undertaken by health experts from both South Africa and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The first of its kind, this was a follow up event after the Dutch Trade Mission to South Africa by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte last year.
Within the campaign of #cocreateSA, the main aim of the day was to foster partnerships with key players from both countries and build relationships. The group on the day represented both countries well. Participants ranged from public to private sector, both in design and managerial roles. The focus: the common and necessary revitalisation of Academic Hospitals as centres of health excellence in the face of complex and shifting future challenges.
Overall the masterclass was inspiring. Considering many South African communities and the basic problems they face, it is easy to get stuck into immediate fixes instead of the possibilities of thinking radically about the future, and where our decisions today might lead us. The multiple ways of thinking in one room opened so many new paths that would not have been found without the platform of #cocreateSA.
The difference between the health sectors is evident but as the day progressed exciting commonalities and possibilities of “leap-frogging” became clear. The value of technology and planning with regards to sustainable academic hospital design was surfaced. Notable ideas considered information and communications technology (ICT) challenges and whether cell phones or other technology could pioneer a way forward, how academic hospitals cannot develop as centres of excellence in isolation within networks under strain, and co-creating strategies improvement. I’m sure every participant left with promising opportunities of Dutch-South African partnerships within the health sector.
Moving forward, working with the momentum of the master class, more emphasis should be placed on a similar representation on both sides. The mix of professionals from the Netherlands was staggering. On the South African side the public sector as well as hospital management was well represented, but there was a lack of private sector professionals that work alongside government and management agencies.
As a master’s of Architecture student, the event was particularly valuable in terms of learning and my thesis. The reality of management in terms of design changed the focus of my work from hypothetically copying the status quo to reinterpreting issues of the continuum of care.
I think it was a great start to what can prove to be a very valuable platform. This initial meeting has given both sides a better indication of what the values are moving forward.
The emphasis on creating human centred spaces is profound within the health sector especially in terms of patients, staff and management. #cocreateSA is the perfect platform for long term, human centred, collaborative innovation using strengths and knowledge from both South Africa and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The network established by this #cocreateSA masterclass promises to be a valuable source of support in times to come, and the conversation will move from strength to strength through sustained future events. The road to sustainable healthcare starts here.
Written by Luet Buys, UCT Master’s Student