Recognising that historical funding models have entrenched inequity and undermined affordability of healthcare services in South Africa, the National Department of Health is introducing the National Health Insurance scheme to integrate healthcare services. This will be heralded by a renewed focus on primary health care provision and will be accompanied by an initiative to re-engineer primary health care services. Major implications, such as shifting to increased community outreach services (as opposed to facility-based services); emerging requirements for information networks (for NHI management) are foreseen.
As infrastructure is integral to the delivery of health care services, these organisational transformations provide an extraordinary opportunity for Science, Engineering & Technology (SET) input into the strategic planning, design, specification, equipping, and commissioning of primary healthcare facilities. This paper discusses the available building technologies including conventional (brick and mortar) and Innovative Building Technologies (IBTs) and alternative off-grid services technologies (energy, water, and sanitation). The paper discusses the energy requirements of a conceptual design for a generic, basic rural clinic.