ComHealth will build and operate facilities (the first will open in 2011/2012 in Soweto) that focus on basic care. The facilities will include a clinic for primary care, maternity wards, ENT and opthalmology specialist services, and theaters for simple procedures that can be done on an outpatient basis or that require less than 24-hours hospitalization (eg. removal of cataracts, fibroids, tonsils). The Soweto facility will be designed to serve 7000 patients per month, with a staff of 12 doctors and 20 nurses.
After three years in operation, it is expected that the Soweto facility could be replicated in townships in Limpopo, Northwest Province, and Mpumalanga.
These facilities would greatly improve the quality of care in South Africa's underserved communities. The public health system is overburdened and clinic wait times in poor communities are often more than 12- 24 hours. To avoid such long queues, which often cause lost wages dues to absenteeism from work, low income earners often turn to private doctors in their communities. These doctors charge between R150-R200 (well more than the daily wage for the vast majority of patients) per office visit and rarely do more than provide painkillers and referrals to public hospitals. For the same out of pocket payment, ComHealth patients will receive high quality treatment for a variety of diagnoses in a modern facility.
ComHealth has developed a detailed business plan outlining its path to sustainability. The team is in the process of raising funds to start construction.