NHI will care for all – health min­is­ter

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - News - LERATO DIALE ler­a­tod@the­newage.co.za

HEALTH Min­is­ter Aaron Mot­soaledi says the state of the health sys­tem is un­ac­cept­able and in­fringed on the right to health­care for all, say­ing the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance (NHI) will help solve that.

Ad­dress­ing the me­dia in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day where he re­leased the NHI white pa­per, Mot­soaledi said an over­haul of the health sys­tem was needed to en­sure uni­ver­sal ac­cess to health­care for all re­gard­less of their eco­nomic sta­tus.

The white pa­per will be gazetted to­day.

An­swer­ing crit­ics of the NHI, Mot­soaledi said there was no po­lit­i­cal, so­cial and eco­nomic rea­son to jus­tify a health sys­tem that ex­cludes the less priv­i­leged, say­ing peo­ple must have the same health ben­e­fits.

“In the present plat­form of health, both pub­lic and pri­vate, it will be very dif­fi­cult or un­de­sir­able rather to try to im­ple­ment NHI.

“NHI will need a mas­sive re­or­gan­i­sa­tion of the health­care sys­tem both pub­lic, and pri­vate.

“We need to mas­sively re­or­gan­ise which means we are go­ing to touch many ar­eas, we are go­ing to touch many peo­ple, we are go­ing to up­set some, oth­ers will be happy, oth­ers may be up­set if they choose to be so but the sys­tem re­quires mas­sive re­or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

The man­ner in which the hos­pi­tals are gov­erned, the re­la­tion­ship between health and prov­inces, who gets what and author­ity will have to change dras­ti­cally for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the NHI, he said.

Mot­soaledi said var­i­ous leg­is­la­tion, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Health Act, Men­tal Health Act among oth­ers, will need to be amended to ac­com­mo­date the NHI.

Mot­soaledi com­pared sub­si­dies given to med­i­cal schemes as the “prodi­gal son” who is given his share of the wealth and comes back to de­mand more.

He said among Brics coun­tries South Africa was pro­duc­ing the worst health out­comes de­spite the high spend of its GDP on health, some­thing he said needs to change.

SA spends 8.5% of its GDP on health, well above other Brics coun­tries.

“Peo­ple are go­ing to say it’s ob­vi­ous be­cause pub­lic hos­pi­tals are not work­ing very well, that is not the cen­tral rea­son, un­like those coun­tries 4.4% of that GDP goes to only 16% of the pop­u­la­tion and the re­main­ing 4.1% goes to 84% of the pop­u­la­tion.

“No coun­try in the world is spend­ing so much money on so few peo­ple.”

PIC­TURE: BONGIWE MCHUNU

OVER­HAUL IS DUE: Health Min­is­ter Dr Aaron Mot­soaledi.

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