Laura Swanepoel: In Africa, Innovation is About the Approach You Take
Office Director at WSP in Africa
What are the main trends currently challenging healthcare in Africa?
Rising demand and associated spending fuelled by an ageing population; the growing occurrence of chronic diseases and comorbidities; development of costly clinical innovations; increasing patient awareness, knowledge, and expectations; and continued economic uncertainty despite regional pockets of recovery are the ongoing challenges facing health care projects in Africa today.
What are the main drivers that are changing healthcare delivery?
There are three key forces driving significant system change – people, cost and technology. These three forces are leading to a future where specialised care is primary, and will eventually result in health services that are more in line with what patients want and need for targeted healing and recovery. Demands in population size and mortality rates affect are increasing healthcare resources and the cost of care that’s provided.
What aspect of your role in healthcare do you find most rewarding?
What drives me is the ability to make a difference. I thrive on ensuring our designs exceed expectations; are of the highest quality and standards; are delivered on time and within budget and use the best technology available. The healthcare sector is a truly collaborative area to work in and I’m really enjoying this dynamic within the sector.
If you were a piece of medical equipment what would you be?
A vital function monitor – A good PM will always have an up to date dashboard showing important project information such as program, budget, resourcing, etc. used to make informed decisions when necessary. I see this as the Doctor’s ‘dashboard’ showing important patient vital information such as body temperature, blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate, information used to prompt appropriate intervention when necessary.
If you had a super power what would it be?
The ability to empower the vulnerable and side-lined people such as women, children, the poor, etc. to enable them to help themselves and be active participants in a growing and developing society.
What job would you choose to do in a hospital?
Operations Director – running the day to day operations of the hospital
With almost three decades of experience in the Property Industry, Laura joined WSP Africa in early 2014 as Office Director for the Building Services Team in Johannesburg. Laura’s completed studies are in Architecture and Project Management with her talent for Project Management shining through, Laura says “I love running the business side of things, I enjoy structure, keeping the client happy” . Laura’s team is responsible for the majority of WSP healthcare projects in Africa. “Our ambition is to further increase our healthcare footprint in Africa maximising on the huge opportunities this region offers with the great support from our global business.”