37-yr-old doctor entrepreneur brings private care to townships
Johannesburg - Portia Lekgoto faced a dilemma: how to take her three-year-old
daughter to a doctor without missing a day of work while waiting in line at one
of only two public health clinics in the South African shantytown of Diepsloot.
She decided to take her daughter to Quali Health, a new private clinic that a friend had told her about. While
she had to pay R250 for the visit, she finished the consultation by mid-morning.
"I am going to now drop my daughter off at her granny with the medication we have been given and then I
will go into work," Lekgoto, 34, said at the clinic. "This place, the staffs are friendly and it’s nice and clean. I’ll
definitely come back."
People walking into a well-resourced health centre in a township and getting immediate help is an unusual
sight in poorer areas of South Africa like Diepsloot, a shantytown of about 140 000 people that was born a
year after Nelson Mandela came to power in the first all-race elections in 1994.
Quali Health was started in May by Nthabiseng Legoete, a 37-year-old doctor, after visiting India, where she
saw people with no medical insurance using private care at a hospital in Bangalore. By September the clinic
in Diepsloot, which offers primary care, was turning a profit and is now seeing about 3 000 patients a month.
In March, with funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, she opened clinics in Tembisa, Soweto
and Alexandra townships around Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial hub.
"I chose to visit India because I knew there were pockets of excellence in terms of low-cost health care,"
Legoete, dressed in silver sneakers, jeans and a white doctors coat, said in an interview at the clinic.
"I saw a production line approach to a lot of services, where one person is dedicated to one function and
becomes better and faster at that one thing. It creates a seamless process through the entire service."
India and South Africa share some common health problems: high vulnerability of young children, poor
Listen the interview here : https://soundcloud.com/user-249991515/drnthabiseng-legoete-on-power-fm