For­ward to uni­ver­sal health­care

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page - Su­laiman Philip

The De­part­ment of Health re­cently pub­lished its pol­icy doc­u­ment on the Na­tional Health In­surance sys­tem. This lays the ground­work for South Africa to move for­ward to health care for all.

The Min­is­ter of Health, Dr Aaron Mot­soaledi, be­lieves all South Africans de­serve free and eq­ui­table ac­cess to health­care. He has ar­gued that the 45 mil­lion South Africans, mainly poor, ru­ral and black, who rely on the over­bur­dened public health sys­tem de­serve the same qual­ity of health­care as fel­low cit­i­zens who can af­ford pri­vate health­care.

Uni­ver­sal cov­er­age

The pro­posed Na­tional Health In­surance (NHI) aims to in­te­grate the ef­fi­cient, but ex­pen­sive, pri­vate health sec­tor with the im­prov­ing but over­loaded public health sys­tem. Since 2011 this model has been tested in 11 pi­lot projects across the coun­try.

This is the prepa­ra­tion pe­riod, when the de­part­ment can test its in­fra­struc­ture and fi­nanc­ing mod­els. Once na­tional roll­out be­gins, it could take up to 14 years to achieve uni­ver­sal cov­er­age. The min­is­ter ex­plained in Oc­to­ber last year: “We are pre­par­ing the clin­ics in terms of in­fra­struc­ture, hu­man re­sources, pri­mary health care and in terms of equip­ment.”

At its heart, the NHI is a fi­nance model that pools funds to pro­vide the same qual­ity health ser­vices to all South Africans no mat­ter their eco­nomic cir­cum­stances or where they live. In Oc­to­ber 2016 the min­is­ter told del­e­gates at the South African Phar­macy Con­fer­ence that the NHI does not aim to re­place pri­vate health­care with a “poor public health­care sys­tem that is cor­rupt, in­ef­fi­cient and un­able to de­liver”.

Through the 11 pi­lot projects, the de­part­ment is re­fin­ing its abil­ity to utilise and al­lo­cate re­sources bet­ter. The NHI is de­signed to pro­vide es­sen­tial care no mat­ter where you live with pri­vate med­i­cal aids cov­er­ing spe­cialised treat­ment.

The De­parT­menT of Health’s Na­tional Health In­surance is a plan to make health­care avail­able to all South Africans by im­prov­ing the qual­ity of clin­ics, hos­pi­tals, staff and equip­ment across the coun­try.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.