Alvorens die ANC ‘n pers kopdoek oor ons gooi om ons verder te vertrap, word die “oudstes” van ander lande bymekaargemaak om oor ons sake te besluit. Waar is die protokol van “inmenging in ander se huishoudelike sake” en mandaat om oor SA burgers te besluit. Geld dit net vir sekeres, want toe Trump iets oor onteiening en moorde op twitter geplaas het, was die hel op 1000 plekke los in die parlement. Hierdie oudstes moet oor hul eie sake beslis en Suid-Afrika uitlos. Ons besluit nie oor Noorwee of Chile of ander oudstes hoe hulle moet lewe nie, wat soek hulle hier of is daar iets vir hulle ook uit “koek van gesondheidsorg” te verkry?
The Elders on 3 September 2019 expressed their support for the National Health Insurance (NHI) reforms proposed by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, and urged all stakeholders to act with ambition and urgency to improve publicly-funded healthcare and build social solidarity.
Graça Machel, Deputy Chair of The Elders, Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and Director-General of the World Health Organization, and Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile, met President Ramaphosa in Cape Town to learn more about the NHI Bill currently before Parliament. The Elders also met the Speaker of Parliament and addressed the Portfolio Committee on Health.
As part of their two-day visit to South Africa, the Elders also addressed a public event on NHI at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, attended by patients’ groups, health professionals, business, labour and academics. They then visited the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto to see for themselves the challenges of healthcare in the public sector.
The Elders said that the NHI reforms offer a critical opportunity for South Africa to improve delivery and accountability in the health system, tackle corruption, and to reduce the inefficiencies and inequalities that currently characterise national healthcare and the private insurance schemes.
Gro Harlem Brundtland said:
“Universal Health Coverage – the principle behind the NHI Bill – is a critical element in any country’s path to sustainable development, social solidarity and equality. We have been encouraged by our meetings with the President, the Health Minister, parliamentarians and medical professionals, and their commitment to improving the health of all South Africans. I urge all stakeholders to show persistence and ambition, and to recall that investment in healthcare is an investment in the economy as a whole.”
The Elders recalled their experiences of introducing health reforms in their own countries and on an international level, often in challenging economic and political circumstances. They said it was important for the NHI reforms to be based on a publicly-funded single-payer system, and to focus on primary healthcare and preventive measures.
Ricardo Lagos said:
“The NHI reforms are an important step towards reducing inequalities, and will give all the people of South Africa the high-quality healthcare they deserve without the debilitating risk of falling into poverty to pay for treatment. I have no doubt that all South Africans, from the President to frontline health workers, have the resilience and commitment to deliver UHC in an accountable, inclusive and fiscally-responsible manner.”
The Elders, a group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights, have called on South Africa to draw on experiences from other countries who have implemented the National Health Insurance (NHI) and make it their own.
The visit by the Elders followed the recent introduction of the NHI Bill to Parliament. The Elders, an organisation consisting of a group of global leaders, have been campaigning for Universal Health Coverage throughout the world since 2016.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and The Elders gathered at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital yesterday to engage with stakeholders from government, the health sector and civil society to understand South Africa’s journey to universal health coverage.
The Elders shared lessons learned from their respective countries but urged South Africa to choose best practices from other countries and tweak it to make it uniquely South African.
A member of the Elders, the former Prime minister of Chile, Ricardo Lagos shared lessons on how his country managed to achieve reform. He said his country implemented its NHI through a phased approach and targeting low hanging fruits in the early stages.
“We implemented reform by firstly targeting certain diseases in the early stages of the NHI and gradually added more diseases as the system improved,” said Lagos.
Mkhize confirmed that South Africa would indeed implement the plan in a phased approach.
Former Prime Minister of Norway and Director-General of the World Health Organization, Gro Harlem Brundtland, challenged the notion that South Africa cannot afford to implement the NHI because of a sluggish economy. She pointed out that many countries have implemented NHI in times of economic difficulties such as Britain, Chile, Thailand and Norway.
“It’s important to remember that investment in health equals investment in the economy,” she said.
Brundtland said while South Africa spends a significant portion of its GDP (8.1%) on health, it has poorer outcomes than those countries such as Thailand that spend less (3.7 %) on health.
She stressed the importance of tackling inefficiency in the way funds are administered and dealing with corruption to ensure better outcomes.
The Elders, led by their Deputy Chairperson Graca Machel, will meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa today (4 September) after which they will address the Portfolio Committee on Health in Parliament.
In parliament …
NHI – National Health Insurance bill