OPINION: Underinvestment in healthcare infrastructure will cost us in the long run

OPINION: Underinvestment in healthcare infrastructure will cost us in the long run

Investment in public health facilities is crucial as the country weathers storms on various fronts – from drought (water shortages) and flooding putting strain on health infrastructure to a harsh economic climate that makes private healthcare unaffordable to more and more people. Mbali Baduza and Matshidiso Lencoasa assess the investments in infrastructure in the budget and what it means for the planned National Health Insurance system.

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OPINION: The billions allocated for infrastructure require more progressive procurement systems and oversight

OPINION: The billions allocated for infrastructure require more progressive procurement systems and oversight

Spending on public sector infrastructure over the 2023 medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) is estimated at R903 billion and the health sector accounts for 5% of this. The well-documented poor maintenance and oversight of projects, also in the health sector, will require close monitoring of trends across the public sector, particularly where procurement and contracting is concerned, writes Zukiswa Kota.

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OPINION: Budget 2023 – opportunity missed to refocus public health spending?

OPINION: Budget 2023 – opportunity missed to refocus public health spending?

Budgets, while important, are not the right mechanism to drive the structural change needed to improve the responsiveness of our public health system in meeting the needs of the population. But, argues Russel Rensburg, we can reorient the health system towards meeting the health needs of the population and then let the budget bolster the reforms. Here he provides some suggestions on how to go about it and contrasts that with the budget announced by Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana this week.

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OPINION: NHI Bill must still clear many hurdles to ensure adequate medicine access

OPINION: NHI Bill must still clear many hurdles to ensure adequate medicine access

The Health Department’s recent response to submissions and its own recommendations on amendments to the National Health Insurance Bill sadly does not realise the gravity of the threat to the future of medicine selection and access. As the Bill currently stands, it will leave us at the mercy of advisory committees that bear no duty to be transparent in deciding which medicines people will be able to access under NHI, the authors argue.

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Decaying infrastructure at Tambo Hospital still putting patients and health workers at risk

Decaying infrastructure at Tambo Hospital still putting patients and health workers at risk

Although the Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg, Gauteng in 2017 had been declared unfit for human habitation” and “an occupational hazard, patients and healthcare workers are continuing to receive and provide health services under unusually difficult conditions. Some say they fear for their lives. Thabo Molelekwa visited the hospital and spoke to some healthcare workers and patients about conditions at the hospital and asked the provincial health department about plans to address the concerns.

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Construction and maintenance delays plague ‘ideal hospital’ in Kroonstad

Construction and maintenance delays plague ‘ideal hospital’ in Kroonstad

Some healthcare services at Boitumelo Regional Hospital in Kroonstad are hamstrung by construction delays, poor maintenance, and water shortages – despite the hospital being classified as one of the Free State’s ‘ideal hospitals’. Refilwe Mochoari investigates.

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ANALYSIS: Mixed feelings about NHI at public health conference

ANALYSIS: Mixed feelings about NHI at public health conference

National Health Insurance (NHI) was one of the hot topics at the 2022 Public Health Association of South Africa Conference recently held in Durban. While several speakers and attendees expressed support for the principles underpinning NHI, many also expressed reservations. Elri Voigt assesses what the conference told us about the views of some of South Africa’s public health experts on NHI.

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Healthcare problems persist at ‘ideal clinics’, studies show

Healthcare problems persist at ‘ideal clinics’, studies show

The ideal clinic programme has been one of government’s key healthcare interventions in recent years. An extensive review conducted of the initiative in Gauteng suggests that outcomes are mixed. Elri Voigt reports on findings from four studies on the programme presented at last week’s Public Health Association of South Africa conference in Durban.

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COVID-19 blamed for shortcomings of ‘ideal clinics’ in Free State  

COVID-19 blamed for shortcomings of ‘ideal clinics’ in Free State  

There are 83 clinics – down from 153 in 2018/19 – in the Free State with Ideal Clinic status, meaning they have adequate staff, infrastructure, and medicines, among others. For many primary health facilities, this accreditation status is crucial for the National Health Insurance, however, some of these ideal clinics still have various shortcomings. Refilwe Mochoari reports.  

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NHI Lawmakers: Interview with FF Plus MP Philip van Staden

NHI Lawmakers: Interview with FF Plus MP Philip van Staden

On being a member of Parliament, Philip van Staden from the Freedom Front Plus says he is living his childhood dream. Biénne Huisman spoke to him about his career in politics, his thoughts on national health insurance, his passion for the health portfolio, and his time as a member of the Gauteng Legislature after the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

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ANALYSIS: NHI Bill – clause-by-clause headbutting begins in Parliament

ANALYSIS: NHI Bill – clause-by-clause headbutting begins in Parliament

In what is expected to become a verbal minefield littered with the usual ideological quips, the members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health this week started the clause-by-clause deliberations on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill. Alicestine October assesses the first leg of the deliberations and issues set to pop up in the next round of deliberations, starting with clause 5 of the Bill next week.

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Opinion: District hospitals will be key to NHI, empower them

Opinion: District hospitals will be key to NHI, empower them

The successful implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) will rely heavily on effective governance at district level. The NHI Bill correctly identifies district hospitals as key during the early transitional NHI phases. Failing to capacitate them for the challenges ahead could prove disastrous, argues Russell Rensburg and Claire Botha.

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