Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and undocumented people are estimated to make up around 4 million of the people living in South Africa. That is nearly 7% of the country’s total population yet there is still no clarity on the process to register and vaccinate undocumented people.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize this week provided an update on investigations into a multimillion-rand NHI communications contract mired in controversy. That same morning, MPs in Parliament were again reminded of how critical an independent National Health Insurance Board will be. One organisation proposed an additional NHI corruption-fighting unit. Alicestine October has the latest from in and outside of Parliament.
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.
A year after the Competition Commission released its Health Market Inquiry (HMI) report, there has been very little action in addressing the report’s findings. Now, a notice the Competition Commission sent to stakeholders in September suggests there may finally be some movement. Elri Voigt reports.
Many healthcare workers are rightly identified as heroes of South Africa’s COVID-19 response. Yet, often healthcare workers are given very little support in the public healthcare system, something that may get worse as healthcare worker shortages get more acute in the coming years. Kathryn Cleary investigates.
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.
Plans like South Africa’s new Human Resources for Health Strategy 2030 must be backed by political support and appropriate, capacitated institutional structures to bring about meaningful change, argue Manya van Ryneveld, Uta Lehmann and Helen Schneider.
As COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise, so does the need for hospital beds. Kathryn Cleary explores the agreements that will see some public sector COVID-19 patients going to private hospitals and asks what this means for NHI.