For all the suffering and death the COVID-19 pandemic has caused over the last 12 months, it has arguably also provided a unique opportunity to test some of the mechanisms behind South Africa’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) system. The centralised procurement of vaccines and the contracting of doctors, for example, are probably not dissimilar from the arrangements we might see under NHI. Kathryn Cleary asks three leading health experts what lessons, for NHI, we should learn from the COVID-19 response.
While COVID-19 will continue to make headlines for some time, 2021 will also be a critical year for healthcare reforms in South Africa and for various aspects of the country’s HIV and TB response. These are Spotlight’s top 12 healthcare questions for the year.
The persistent challenges in public health in the Eastern Cape, highlight the critical role of leadership. Prof Helen Schneider argues if we are to reimagine a future of access, equity and justice in health and health care in the Eastern Cape, we need bottom-up institution-building involving civil society and not just top-down legislative, budgetary and other reforms.
Dr Keith Cloete became head of the Western Cape Health Department on April 1 2020, two weeks into South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown level 5. Biénne Huisman asked him about the long road from a childhood in District Six to the blur of meetings in the Western Cape’s COVID-19 engine room.
Even as the need for a more equitable health system is being demonstrated, news has broken of large-scale corruption in the procurement of PPE. This makes it difficult for a population worn down by corruption to envisage the transformation of the health system into a system of contracting and procurement under National Health Insurance, writes Sasha Stevenson.
The public hearing on the NHI Bill in Khayelitsha this week drew a big crowd from areas like Manenberg, Elsies River and Khayelitsha in what turned out to be a robust public hearing with strong political undertones.
“They all say yes because of their poverty. They don’t know the disadvantages of NHI,” says IFP MP Magdalene Hlengwa, reflecting on the public hearings on the NHI Bill. Biénne Huisman sat down with Hlengwa to discuss NHI and much more.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health wrapped up the last public hearings on the NHI Bill for this year on Monday in King William’s Town. Here is the hearings in pictures.
Residents of the OR Tambo District in the Eastern Cape were mostly in favour of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill at a public hearing in Mthatha, but raised questions on how it will solve problems in the Eastern Cape’s ailing health system, especially in rural areas.