The Portfolio Committee for health had a welcome visitor this week. Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi was there to reconfirm his commitment to an economical, preventative model rather than a costly curative form of health care. He made it quite clear that NHI, the new universal healthcare coverage scheme, will not be following the example of medical schemes and focusing on a hospital-centric model.
He also suggested that he was looking at regulating the salt content of food and promoting breast-feeding over formula-feeding. By regulating salt content only, Minister Motsoaledi said the country could make massive savings on hypertension treatment and kidney dialysis.
The Minister also told the portfolio committee that while the white paper was yet to be released, it “was going to show that the heartbeat of healthcare needs to be primary healthcare”. He assured members that NHI would be affordable.
The Minister made a strong call to parliamentarians to lead in HIV testing and prevention campaigns. He said while the country had made great strides in fighting HIV/AIDS, parliament had not led by example by having MPs publicly tested.
In closing, the Minister expressed his concern at the lack of gynaecologists in South Africa. He confirmed that we were ‘importing’ 78 doctors from Cuba in the near future, but sadly only two are gynaecologists.