This weekend, I was sitting in my study listening to an Ismaël Lô CD and catching up on some reading. It is not often that I can have times of quiet contemplation, and I find my thoughts wandering to some of the things that I feel most passionately about… what is happening in world health care?
The USA is moving to a more socialist health care delivery model. When the home of Capitalism turns its attention to a health care system with a strong focus on social solidarity and universal care, it is time to take notice. I suspect that there are many people in the World Health Organisation who are feeling a sense of fulfilment: a healthcare system that provides universal and equitable healthcare to all people in all countries has always been their goal and vision. Sadly, there are still very few countries who can say they have achieved this goal.
We see many countries in the East, including Thailand and Singapore making greater progress in achieving this goal than many western, developed world countries.
In the UK the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. Companies like the Virgin group are being contracted to deliver a large range of services linked to sexual health. The NHS is wobbling under the problems created by euro zone financial crises. A traditional socialist environment is looking to entrepreneurs and capitalist to help.
Then we come to Africa, and, as a whole the continent is not performing well at all. So many people have no access to basic healthcare, and only the wealthy are able to circumvent realities of life in their countries.
South Africa is trying extremely hard to achieve universal healthcare. Our Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, has made great strides to open up debate and actions that start to address the challenges that we in South Africa face.
My disappointment is that we don’t hear or see a greater social contract between Government and entrepreneurs, business leaders and the private sector. These groups need to be working together and each of them needs to overcome the long legacy of mistrust between them. I know that there is a lot happening behind the scenes, but the general population is not seeing the fruits of all this labour yet.
This past month we celebrate the 94th birthday of our hero Madiba by offering 67 minutes in the service of others. It is my desire and prayer to see more “Angels” coming out and giving a helping hand to help improve access to health for all South Africans.
If I could, I would like to ask Tata Madiba for the recipe for creating leaders like himself. Leaders who understand the frailty of man and understand that by improving the lives of all of us, we are improving the lives of each of us as individuals as well.
As for me, I will keep turning my dreams into reality and doing everything in my power to ensure that we have a greater and better healthcare system for all South Africans.