Rural health innovation systems in South Africa

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11th Globelics International Conference, Ankara, Turkey
Erika Kraemer-Mbula

This paper explores innovation in rural health care systems in remote or marginalised areas where limited public health care is available. To overcome this challenge and satisfy the universal demand for health care, populations in remote rural areas often rely on multiple private providers that deliver services based on various sources of knowledge (both traditional and modern sciences). Rural healthcare is thus a versatile and dynamic sector which includes a variety of economic activities. This paper presents evidence collected in two marginalised localities: Ingquza Hill Local Municipality and Mbizana Locality; both in the Eastern Cape Province, one of the poorest provinces in South Africa. On the basis of this evidence the paper explores: (1) the key actors that compose rural health systems and, (2) examples of interactions and innovations that emerge amongst these actors in such contexts. It is argued that a better understanding of the solutions that are originated within local systems of innovation constitutes a suitable approach towards sustainable and inclusive development.

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