Tsilitwa Telehealth Project
Country of Operation
- Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)Not-for-profit
- University of Cape TownNot-for-profit
- South African - Netherlands Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD)Not-for-profit
Target income level
- Bottom 20%
SummaryThe health component of this project is an innovative wireless network that enables nurses at the clinic in Tsilitwa to use communications technology to connect with specialist physicians based in the nearest hospital, which is 15 km away in the village of Sulenkama.
Key program components
Through this connection, the doctor is able to advise the nurse as to a course of treatment or possible referral of the patient to a specialist elsewhere, thus saving time and money. In order to sustain the program beyond its original grant, the CSIR was able to attract additional funding from Telkom, the South African - Netherlands Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD), the World Bank, and from the Department of Health.
Tsilitwa is a rural community of about 2000 people located in the province of Eastern Cape. As in many rural communities, Tsilitwa is connected to other nearby villages by several kilometers of poorly developed roads and suffers from high unemployment and low penetration of public services. Although the village contained a clinic, the clinic was staffed only by nurses with limited capacity to treat anything other than basic health needs. In 1999, the community leader from Tsilitwa asked for the assistance of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to draft a community development funding proposal after having visited one of CSIR's project in village of Lubisi. CSIR developed a proposal for the South African Department of Science and Technology’s Innovation Fund to develop an Information Communication Technology (ICT) platform in Tsilitwa to support health, education, agriculture and small business.