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AWS targets healthcare, education sectors in SA

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Rashika Ramlal, AWS SA executive director and country manager for public sector.
Rashika Ramlal, AWS SA executive director and country manager for public sector.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is deepening its presence in SA through a multi-pronged strategy to technologically enable transformation of education and healthcare services.

This is according to Rashika Ramlal, AWS executive director and country manager for public sector in SA, who last week hosted the third annual AWS series on cloud technology for the public sector.

This year, the series unpacked critical aspects of public sector digital transformation, with a particular focus on education and healthcare transformation.

The series showcased how AWS Cloud enabled South African public and private sector organisations to grow and thrive through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing public sector executives in Fourways, Ramlal said AWS is making a difference and positive impact in SA, as it places citizens at the core of its operations.

She told delegates that AWS initiatives in SA seek to enable growth and progress in the country.

According to Ramlal, her company, as one of the leading cloud infrastructure and platform services providers in SA, has been actively steering innovation in the country, leading to job creation.

As it stands, according to Ramlal, AWS has contributed over 3 900 direct jobs and over 7 000 indirect jobs. It also has a R365 million investment programme to grow small and medium businesses.

“We want to transform healthcare services in South Africa so that irrespective if someone is in deep rural areas or in the city, they will have access to quality healthcare solutions through hospitals, clinics or pharmacies.”

As an example, Ramlal said, AWS is enabling healthcare services through one of its customers, Right ePharmacy, which has leveraged its technology to dispense medication across the country.

According to Ramlal, the company has “set up pharmacy dispensary units similar to ATMs throughout South Africa to dispense medication so that patients don’t have to queue at clinics every month”.

Long queues at public hospital pharmacies have been an issue of concern, as many patients who rely on public healthcare have to regularly take time out to collect their chronic medicines.

Backed by AWS, Ramlal said, Right ePharmacy is now helping alleviate the problem of medicine collection in urban and rural areas.

Turning to the impact AWS has had on education, Ramlal told delegates technology-driven education services will ensure quality and equal services to all South Africans.

Her comments come as technology and education have become increasingly integrated as a result of COVID-19-induced restrictions on learning.

“In terms of societal impact on education, imagine a situation where every child in South Africa, irrespective of your race or colour or location, can have access to equal quality education.

“All this is possible with AWS services. AWS has enabled many universities, such as Wits (the University of the Witwatersrand), Limpopo, Pretoria, North West, Free State and other institutions of higher learning to provide online learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Furthermore, Ramlal said, over and above education: “AWS didn’t just stop at enabling universities and educational institutions; we know the workforce of the future is critical to the sustainability of South Africa’s economy; therefore, AWS has set up a R55 million fund in programmes where we are training under-employed and unemployed youths.”

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