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The movement from face-to-face healthcare to e-health services: an ethical exploration of the telemedicine experiences of healthcare seekers in Harare, Zimbabwe.


This dissertation provides an overview of the experiences of healthcare seekers in the shift from the tradition face-to-face way of seeking healthcare to a virtual alternative, known as telemedicine. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to go into lockdown which created limitations for gatherings and accessibility of physical healthcare facilities. This reality resulted in healthcare seekers in Harare seeking alternative healthcare methods which not only allowed them to comply with the restrictions put in place by the government but also decreased their exposure and risk of contacting the airborne virus. The use of telemedicine presents many opportunities with healthcare seekers in Harare as the Zimbabwean capital battles with providing adequate healthcare for all with some of the challenges experienced within the healthcare system including sparse numbers of healthcare seekers, shortage of resources at healthcare facilities and dilapidated healthcare facilities. The shift to telemedicine comes with a change in medical culture for healthcare seekers and it is against this backdrop that, through the lenses of the ethical theory of consequentialism, this dissertation will explore the ethical implications of the movement from face-to-face healthcare to telemedicine. Taking from the experiences of healthcare seekers in Harare, this dissertation analyses the notable changes which have come from this shift and explores both the favourable and unfavourable consequences. Furthermore, this dissertation argues for more contextualised implementation and use of telemedicine that takes into consideration the social setting under which this tool is being administered to maximise the favourable results.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.