Mladen Poluta


Mladen Poluta

Director at Health Technology Directorate, WCGH


After graduating from the University of Witwatersrand in 1977 with a degree in electrical engineering, Mladen worked in the medical device industry and in an academic hospital setting in Johannesburg before joining the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cape Town in 1987. He established the Healthcare Technology Management programme in 1999 and served as programme director/convener until 2015. He also held a Senior Lecturer position in the Graduate School of Technology Management at the University of Pretoria from 2012-2015. In January 2016 he was appointed as Director: Health Technology in the Western Cape Department of Health. Mladen has served in an advisory capacity and as consultant for the World Health Organization and other national and international bodies, including the South African Department of Health and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). His interests span the assessment, innovation, application and management of healthcare technologies and related infrastructure, as well as optimisation of health technology interventions in resource-scarce settings and TB-related airborne infection control. He previously served as chair of the Working Group for Developing Countries of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE) and is currently board member of both the IFMBE’s Clinical Engineering and Health Technology Assessment Divisions. He is also a founding member of the recently established Southern African Health Technology Assessment Society (SAHTAS).

Proper life-cycle management of health technologies is a sine qua non for a unified health service under the proposed NHI system. Despite having a visionary framework for health technology (HT) policies and a comprehensive HT strategy, the public healthcare sector faces many HT-related challenges, specifically with regard to asset management of medical devices, and medical equipment in particular. Emerging challenges include increasing commoditisation in medical device/equipment procurement.

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