South African Government Information Service

by Aug 14, 2009All Articles

28 July 2009
South African Government Information Service

Deputy Minister briefs the industry about the National Health Insurance system

The Deputy Minister of Health Dr Molefi Sefularo met the South African Medical Device Industry Association (SAMED) members at the Inanda Club in Sandton this morning, to understand their concerns about the National Health Insurance (NHI) system, which has recently re-occupied the centre stage of discussions.

Although the SAMED members were in principle not opposed to a form of universal health financing coverage, their general feeling was that the unfolding process should be transparent. The Deputy Minister assured them that the private sector was an important role player in the delivery of health care.

The NHI is one of ten key priorities of the health sector programme of action being implemented in the next five years. Its objective is to put in place the necessary funding and health service delivery mechanisms, which will enable the creation of an efficient, equitable and sustainable health system in South Africa.

The proposed NHI is based on the key principles of the right to health, social solidarity and universal coverage and it would be funded partly by compulsory contributions by all persons who earn an income and partly by tax. This would be placed in a single pool to fund both public and private healthcare sectors.

During his address, the Deputy Minister said: “The Ministry is working hard to create conditions for meaningful consultations on the NHI so as to allow the infusion of collective wisdom into decisions on the matter.”

“We are also in the process of consulting colleagues in cabinet and relevant government departments to prepare a submission on the NHI for the approval of the national cabinet. Once approved, documents will be released for public debates and consultations,” said Dr Sefularo.

“Current consensus is that the NHI be implemented in a phased manner to allow for consultation, policy making, legislation review and to adjust to this review. I am confident that you will, at the right time, study our proposals on the NHI, engage in debates and contribute resources, skills and expertise to the final product that will emerge after consultations. The implementation of the NHI will require that we develop partnerships to ensure accelerated transformation of the National Health System,” he added.

He emphasised that the case for change in healthcare financing and introduction of mandatory National Health Insurance in South Africa was strong and urgent, more so as the country moved towards the deadline for the achievement of the millennium development goals for health.

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