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Quality Health Essential for National Health Insurance (NHI)
Source: BuaNews
Source Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Focus: Citizens’ Service Delivery
Country: South Africa
Created: Dec 14, 2011

The country's health care system needed to be strengthened and five areas in particular needed to be improved including infrastructure, quality of health care, human resources, the re-engineering of the healthcare system and cost of private health care.

He noted that while private health care had some of the best infrastructure in the world, the public system was lagging behind.

There was also a serious problem with the quality of public health care, with a far superior quality being offered by the private sector.

With regards to human resources, Motsoaledi said while there was a shortage of health workers worldwide, many countries were able to move forward with the health care goals and South Africa should be no different.

The Department of Health has introduced a human resources strategy for health to help in this regard.

He said another issue that needed to be address was the pricing of services in private health care. The minister noted that health care in South Africa had become very costly and if not curbed, the situation could spiral out of control.

The issue of pricing in the private sector, in particular, needed to be dealt with head-on.

He urged delegates to listen to the international experts speaking at the conference and learn as much as possible about how other countries grappled with similar issues.

Motsoaledi described health as a "public good" and not just another commodity that could be traded on stock exchanges of the world with no controls.

Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Margaret Chan, who did not attend the conference but sent a recorded message to delegates, described the NHI policy paper as momentous.

The NHI aimed to give every South African access to appropriate, efficient and quality health services regardless of social status or income level, she noted.

While it was a radical decision to overhaul the health system, it was also a rational one, Chan said.

The NHI was a noble pursuit in fairness of health care for all South Africans, she added.
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