Where should I start

Create Better Access to Healthcare in South Africa – update December 2008

It is sometimes very strange with a Project. Times nothing happens and sometimes so many things happen that make you think: “where should I start?”.
Lately we spoke to Shireen Hanoon, the Business Unit Manager of Abbott Laboratories, the Supplier of Diabetes devices in South Africa who agreed on becoming our Senior Supplier in the Project Board, as a company. She was also very helpful in providing a lot of other information about costs. We now are able to fill in our Business Plan more detailed. She has a MBA graduate working for her, whom she is going to dedicate partially to our Project, once this person returns in January from his holiday.
Mrs Hanoon introduced the name of Lu Mkhontwani to us, a woman who has Diabetes herself and might be interested in our project. We have already spoken with Lu Mkhontwani and her Marketing Advisor Tjipo Mothobi. They agreed on participating in our project and becoming members of our Project Board, LU will be the Executive. They emphasised that it would be best to start with the children, because of the side effects of Diabetes: children get blind, have amputations of legs and end up in wheelchairs. Focussing on children is also from a Marketing perspective more effective. Children bring their parents who might also be suffering from Diabetes and become more aware of Diabetes themselves. This snowball effect will bring us eventually to the elderly.
We spoke with the Mail Order Company in The Netherlands and learned that we had to focus also within the clinical picture of Diabetes. We now focus on the Pre-Diabetes Phase and the Type II Diabetes patients. Type I Diabetes patients need Insulin and that needs to be described by a doctor, which makes the purpose of the MDSC at the start too complicated. Their advise was to keep it foremost simple. Selling devices is not the first priority, but selling tests is. A device costs approximately € 30,- and that is too expensive. They showed us also the devices, which are used in The Netherlands. We can contact them any time, when we need some additional information.
We have done some more research on Diabetes, the Medical Health System and the PDI’s in South Africa. Now it is time to categorise all this information and see how to use it in a proper way. The emphasis lies also in education about the decease and measure the blood sugar.
The Representative of our “Interest Group” close to Johannesburg is still not contacting us, and we are afraid he has lost interest in our project. We still hope that the Interest Group might want to work with Lu Mkhontwani on our project, once the Representative knows we have an expert on Diabetes on board.
Gert van Westing and Nicole Bosters