Blue Oak Systems has just launched an online application called RESET which will help debt-ridden consumers to restructure their unsecured debt. The RESET principle centres around establishing the minimum consolidation loan which will yield the maximum cash savings. With over 8 million South Africans over-indebted and debt consolidation solutions failing, it seems a little hollow to talk about encouraging a savings habit. Theuns Hanekom, co-founder of Blue Oak Systems, believes that we cannot begin to talk about developing a savings culture in South Africa until we can show consumers how to unlock savings from debt. He feels that financial advisors are trained to operate on one side of the personal balance sheet only whereas the problem and opportunity often sits on the debt side. “We have thousands of highly qualified financial planners in South Africa all selling retirement, investment or life products, which is right. But if they looked at the debt side of their clients’ personal balance sheets, you’d find that they could potentially improve their clients’ personal cash flow and either increase savings or as a minimum, reduce the need for clients to borrow more. I’d like to see financial advisors impacting on both sides of the personal balance sheet,” he says. Traditionally, the thinking has been to consolidate debt through taking a maximum loan. Ironically, this doesn’t always result in achieving maximum monthly savings. The problem is that if you don’t enjoy a monthly cash flow improvement which makes a difference, sooner or later you’re going to be borrowing again until such time as you just cannot access any more loans. Another problem in debt management is that people are not comfortable talking about debt which means they don’t access the expertise required to successfully structure debt. Hanekom believes that, provided expert and credible debt structuring applications are used, the online or web environment provides the security, subjectivity . . .
Preliminary findings from a national diabetes screening programme run by the ICPA (Independent Community Pharmacy Association) show a serious cause for concern. In fact, 1 in every 3 of the patients tested were at a high risk of developing diabetes over the next 10 years and a further 50% were at an increased risk. The high risk patients were referred to a doctor, and the “at risk” patients were instructed on the urgent lifestyle changes that they need to implement in order to reduce their risk status. These findings were drawn from the initial 10 000 screenings that have been captured and are part of a continuing drive by ICPA to collect 100 000 diabetes screenings to assist the National Department of Health (NDOH). This demonstrates the important contribution independent community pharmacy has to make in South Africa’s healthcare industry. Campaign rationale: The NDOH has targeted non-communicable (non-infectious) diseases for serous interventions, as it is one of the main causes of death in South Africa, placing a huge burden on the country’s health system. The non-communicable disease burden includes cardio vascular disease with diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and smoking identified as contribution factors. “ICPA wants to assist government with their focus on these non-communicable diseases (NDCs), and has therefore embarked on a series of campaigns as part of the role pharmacies can play in SA’s healthcare industry,” says Sham Moodley, ICPA Chairperson. Diabetes has been the most recent campaign ICPA has focused on. With more than 1 200 member pharmacies spread throughout rural, urban and metropolitan South Africa, ICPA has the perfect channel for this purpose. To launch the campaign ICPA received a generous sponsorship from pharmaceutical company Roche, and participating pharmacies offered free testing from 15 – 19 October. An online data capturing tool was developed with the assistance of international partner Webstar Health and . . .
Enterprise St Helena (ESH) is happy to announce that Cathy Alberts has been appointed Director of Tourism. Cathy joins ESH from Cape Town Tourism in South Africa with effect from 1 November 2012. She has had a long career in tourism and travel in international long-haul tourism – particularly dealing with the UK and European markets - and has dealt with many operators and suppliers in this field including airlines. She has experience in developing destinations and tourism products and experiences, as well as improving standards and those involved in the tourism sector. Cathy’s career has involved setting up tourism organisations and developing the tourism industry in both the Western Cape and Cape Town in South Africa. Her responsibilities in Cape Town have included creating joint marketing programmes and developing links with key strategic partners. With the largest target market being long-haul visitors from the UK and Europe, this involved close relationships with airlines such as British Airways, SAA and Emirates. Having been responsible for seven Tourist Offices as well as citizen mobilisation for the World Cup, Cathy is experienced in the physical and mindset transformations required in developing tourism destinations, products and standards. Most recently, her role has encompassed the development of tours and experiences for visitors. With Cape Town’s key markets being long-haul, especially UK and Europe, this has involved a keen understanding between sophisticated visitors and underdeveloped suppliers. This has meant understanding the needs and requirements of visitors and suppliers, increasing standards, and developing a variety of extended tours and experiences which has ranged from mountain bike trails to swimming with sharks. Cathy will be arriving on St Helena at the end of the year, but in the meantime will be involved in detailed handover sessions with outgoing Tourism Development Executive Michael Dean, in South Africa, the UK and France, . . .
By Hazel Dunbar, Executive Consulting Psychologist: Work Dynamics “We don’t have the time, energy or budget for change management – that will have to come later.” – Anonymous HR Manager The problem with “later” is that this particular organisation had been through multiple leadership and structural changes and was now embarking on another structural change under the newly appointed CEO. “Later” has become “now” and change management therefore needs to shift from a process used for large scale change such as a merger or restructure to becoming a day-to-day business process. Change management should not be a mopping up process to sweep up the debris of change – rather, it should build resilience and provide a vehicle for two-way communication. Take for example the company T-Systems South Africa’s changes steered by their MD Mardia van der Walt-Korsten. It is possibly because she has a background in HR and clinical psychology that change management played such a defining role when T-Systems staff went through the trauma and uncertainty associated with mergers and acquisitions under her watch. Whatever the reason, taking change management seriously seems to have worked for them. The importance of change management as part of business was highlighted by Robert Kaplan (co-designer of the Balanced Scorecard), in a recent workshop in South Africa on executing strategy. He stressed that change management is a leadership imperative and not something that gets outsourced. In fact, any change in strategic direction requires change management. For example, organisations seldom think of performance management system design and implementation as requiring change management. However, change management can be extremely beneficial in terms of focusing the efforts of every member of the organisation in the same direction through a well-designed performance management system. In a fast-moving world, change management needs to become a natural way of life in business . . .
CAMPAIGN TO SCREEN 100 000 FOR DIABETES 80% of people living with diabetes unaware of their condition In a preventative healthcare drive, the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA) has committed to screen 100 000 people for diabetes before the end of October. This initiative forms part of the ICPA’s role as the representative of independent pharmacists in South Africa, who do not only have their customers’/patients’ best health interests at heart, but also value and support preventative and cost reduction actions of the broader healthcare industry. “As a non-communicable or non-infectious disease, diabetes is a key health focus area in South Africa,” says Sham Moodley, ICPA’s chairperson. “Diabetes SA estimates that four to six million South Africans have diabetes, but 80% are unaware of their condition. Having such a substantial number of undiagnosed patients out there is concerning and places a huge burden on both the government and private sector. “Not only are lives at stake but the cost burden has serious implications for our country,” says Sham. “To help address this situation, we partnered with the National Department of Health (NDOH) and Roche Products (Pty) Ltd (Diabetes care) to get patients screened and the data logged before November 2012.” In order to provide meaningful data, ICPA invested in an online data capturing tool and , all participating ICPA members will offer FREE diabetes tests from 15 – 19 October. By screening the targeted 100 000 patients and capturing the data, ICPA members aim to assist the government in their preventative healthcare strategy. “The ICPA screening has a specific focus, being to determine a person’s risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes within the next 10 years,” explains Sham. “Following the screening, the pharmacist or the clinic nurse will advise the patient appropriately – it might mean a need to change lifestyle or an urgent visit to the doctor.” Evidence indicates that if people . . .
RELAY EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES Filling the gap Emergency and medical services in the Eastern Cape has been a troublesome and controversial topic for a number of years, but a new service provider in the Nelson Mandela Metro and surrounds aims to raise the bar. RELAY Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was recently established by well-known PE-based company, CompSol (an IOD claims administrator and management company), and since day one the team’s number one objective is to provide the highest level of care when lives are at stake. CEO and founder of CompSol, Fritz Lüttich says: “We applied the same principles to RELAY EMS that made CompSol a success. Inefficiencies in the IOD claim process opened a gap for a company such as CompSol, and by developing and applying the right processes, systems, training and people we have been able to ensure our clients payment by the Compensation Fund. “We have since acknowledged that in the Nelson Mandela Metro and surrounds, emergency and medical services suffer from huge issues such as being understaffed, under resourced and poorly equipped. There is also the global “brain drain” which is taking many of South Africa’s trained and experienced paramedics offshore.” While Lüttich won’t be drawn into generalising as there are good emergency response outfits out there, he had seen enough to be concerned at the quality of treatment being received by patients, some of them in life threatening situations, which prompted him to launch the service. “There are three levels of emergency medical care practitioners – Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. You can imagine that advanced skills are required to manage certain emergency conditions or situations. This is sadly not always the case. You also need appropriate vehicles and advanced equipment. For example, we are the only service in the area with an ICU incubator – essential for premature babies. Importantly, your paramedics need to arrive on the scene fresh and motivated – . . .