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South Africa

Ramaphosa reiterates ANC’s commitment to implementing NHI bill

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) has reiterated its commitment to accelerate the implementation of the long-delayed National Health Insurance (NHI) bill through the finalisation of legislation and creation of a publicly funded National Health Insurance Fund.

Addressing thousands of ANC supporters on Saturday at the governing party’s election manifesto launch at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, President Cyril Ramaphosa said all South Africans must be able to access quality healthcare regardless of their socioeconomic status or ability to pay.

“To achieve this seismic shift; we must promote social solidarity and work towards the cross-subsidisation of services – where those who can afford to pay more assist those who cannot pay; where the young subsidise the old and where the healthy subsidise the sick.

“The NHI is a chance for South Africans to contribute to the collective health and well-being of one another and extend access to quality healthcare to everyone.”

In December, last year, Cabinet rejected the revised NHI bill for submission to Parliament after a leaked Treasury letter raised several concerns over the role of medical schemes and provincial health departments, among others.

The bill was then sent back to the Department of Health to be reworked and is expected to be back in Parliament this year.

Ramaphosa said for the ANC government to achieve its dream of quality healthcare for all citizens, they will ensure that resources at the public clinics and hospitals are “well managed and efficiently deployed.”

“We are fully aware that the journey to universal health care has to start with deliberate efforts to address the immediate crisis in the public health system to tackle such issues as corruption, poor management of financial resources, human resource planning, training, budgeting, maintenance and upgrading of equipment and infrastructure.”

The president also welcomed Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s announcement in December to spend R2 billion to fill more than 5, 300 posts for health workers at public health facilities.

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