Solutionist Thinking with RMB is a thirteen-episode podcast series hosted by Bruce Whitfield focusing on the great South African minds who are thinking differently and going against the norm. In the eighth episode, Whitfield speaks with Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital’s Head of Paediatric Surgery, Professor Jerome Loveland.

If you thought a day in the life of Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital’s Professor Jerome Loveland looked like an episode from the medical drama series, ER starring George Clooney, you’re wrong.

But, that doesn’t quite mean that the hospital he works at generally has a corridor of patients, seated on blankets strewn across the cold floor, desperately waiting to receive urgent care from a limited team of medical professionals.

Whilst it is known that South Africa’s healthcare system is in a crisis of confidence, at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Professor Loveland has managed to create an environment that is conducive to improving the care that its patients receive.

Despite the chaos that surrounds us, we’ve been able to create an environment that is very conducive to work.— Professor Jerome Loveland, Head of Paediatric Surgery

Committed to saving the lives of sick children – Professor Loveland launched Surgeons for Little Lives, a centre of excellence within a widely dysfunctional system.

Operating as a charity, the facility with a price tag of R20 million is run by a small group of paediatric surgeons who provide life-changing healthcare services, as well as sleepover facilities for parents of very sick children.

We grew it for about 18 months…. to put a transparent institution in place that we could get donations from, and not just financial donations but donations of human capital.— Professor Jerome Loveland, Head of Paediatric Surgery

In doing so, the facility was able to improve its processes and, the medical care that was being provided to paediatric surgical patients, as well as their families.

That’s really enabled us to just provide a better level of care and, also to identify where we are providing poor care with a view to improving it in the long term.— Professor Jerome Loveland, Head of Paediatric Surgery

But, whilst the facility has been well received by the Gauteng health department and, hospital management – as the project has grown, it has had to overcome certain obstacles.

We’re there to improve where we know that there are problems and, the fact that we’re identifying those problems provides a threat.— Professor Jerome Loveland, Head of Paediatric Surgery

Now, with its sights set on improving the lives of more children in South Africa – Professor Loveland believes that the model is reproducible and, a good example of public and private partnership.

Listen to Jerome Loveland in conversation with Bruce Whitfield in the full Solutionist Thinking with RMB podcast below.

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