While the Digital Vibes scandal has no doubt presented President Cyril Ramaphosa with a massive headache, it has also presented him with an opportunity. In appointing a new Minister of Health, he can set South Africa’s COVID-19 response on a sounder footing. We should soon know whether this is an opportunity he is ready to take, writes Spotlight editor Marcus Low.
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.
Medico-legal claims in the public healthcare sector have been sharply increasing since at least 2014 and are taking huge bites out of already stretched provincial budgets. Motheo Brodie and Sasha Stevenson of SECTION27 assess what impact a recent court judgment and proposed legislation might have on the problem.
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.
As Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize’s proposed amendments to regulations on notifiable medical conditions came under fire in Parliament this week, some public health and medical law experts welcomed the proposed amendments to the regulations and even made some suggestions on how it could be improved. Alicestine October took an in-depth look at what is at stake.
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.
A recent Pretoria High Court judgment declared the regulations under South Africa’s lockdown alert levels 3 and 4 invalid and unconstitutional. This case may well be overturned on appeal, but provides a critical opportunity for government to redirect and base its decision-making processes on transparency and participation.
MPs were caught up in a foxtrot of hypotheticals and assurances over COVID-19 with Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and senior officials in Parliament today. Mkhize and his department briefed MPs in the Portfolio Committee on Health on COVID-19 ahead of a debate on South Africa’s readiness for an outbreak in the National Assembly tomorrow.
The latest Auditor-General’s (AG) report makes for grim reading regarding a number of provincial departments of health. Yet, there seems little hope that provincial legislatures will hold these departments to account and even less that the public will be kept informed of the activities of these legislatures.
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.