The NHI is not go­ing to kill the pri­vate sec­tor

The Africa Report - - POLITICS - In­ter­view by C.O.

TAR: Are you happy with the cur­rent bud­get al­lo­ca­tion from the trea­sury? AARON MOTSAOLEDI: Well, yes, un­der the present fis­cal space it is bet­ter than noth­ing. We do un­der­stand the fis­cal space in which the coun­try finds it­self, so we be­lieve the fact that some­thing was given to us is good, be­cause there are peo­ple who be­lieve they can wish Na­tional Health In­sur­ance (NHI) away. I don’t know why some South Africans still be­lieve they can wish it away, NHI is no longer just a South African dream, it’s a global dream. It’s also there in the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan. It’s clearly writ­ten in clear words that we need one pool of funds for all South Africans to fi­nance their health­care, un­like the present sys­tem where we’ve got one pool of fi­nanc­ing that cov­ers only 16% of the pop­u­la­tion. What are the plans to bring the pri­vate sec­tor on board? There is al­ways this claim, and I be­lieve it’s de­lib­er­ate be­cause the pri­vate sec­tor has got good qual­ity care and the pub­lic sec­tor is strug­gling, which we want to cor­rect. Now they use that prob­lem to try and in­cite so­ci­ety against NHI by say­ing we are go­ing to kill the pri­vate sec­tor. That has never been our in­ten­tion. It’s not in any pol­icy doc­u­ments. South Africa has got two health­care sys­tems; one pri­vate, one pub­lic. We want the pop­u­la­tion to have ac­cess to both, that’s what NHI is all about. The NHI is not go­ing to kill the pri­vate sec­tor but rather make it avail­able to all sec­tors of the pop­u­la­tion. No right-think­ing per­son can ever say that’s wrong. I will give you an ex­am­ple. There is a pri­vate hos­pi­tal in Gaut­eng, it has more gy­nae­col­o­gists than the whole of Mpumalanga, Lim­popo and the whole of the North West added to­gether. Now what type of coun­try is that? And you are de­ter­mined that in your life­time we are go­ing to have the NHI? We have got no op­tion. My de­trac­tors say and keep on re­peat­ing that un­less the econ­omy is grow­ing you can’t have NHI. We have got good ex­am­ples around the world. The Bri­tish in­tro­duced their uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age in 1948. What was hap­pen­ing in Bri­tain in 1948? It was three years af­ter the Sec­ond World War.

Aaron Motsaoledi Health min­is­ter, South Africa

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