Singing off the same song sheet

Something that might have been missed on Budget day was the fact that the Minister of Health presented a report on the 11 NHI Pilot Projects to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Health.

His main message was that for NHI to be implemented two things are required to happen:

  1. Improve infrastructure and quality delivered in the public sector; and
  2. Reduce the out of control escalation of costs in the private sector.

In the State of the Nation Address on 13 February the highlights on achievements/progress in Health department listed were:-

  • 300 new health facilities were built over the past five year, which includes 160 new clinics.
  • 10 new hospitals were refurbished or built in Ladybrand, Germiston, Mamelodi, Natalspruit, eThekwini, Zola, Bojanala, Vryburg District, Swartruggens, Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain.
  • 2.4 million people have been put on antiretroviral (ARVs) treatment. The target is to increase this number to 4.6 million people in the next term.
  • More than 20 million citizens have presented for HIV testing since the launch of the campaign in 2011.
  • Life expectancy increased from a low of 54 in 2005 to about 60 in 2011.
  • Declining mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV.
  • The South African National Aids Council (SANAC) was commended for its work.
  • The National Health Insurance programme will extend healthcare to the poor.

In the Budget speech today the following points were raised:

  • All the spending is being linked to NDP but we need details on the how and what?
  • Almost 30% increase in the overall budget in this grouping of spending which includes Education and Health.
  • More clinics will be built and hospitals refurbished (I will provide some details in a later blog post from the PC Health meeting which covered this in detail.)
  • Office of Health Standards was launched based on legislation passed last year.
  • R 1,2Bn will be allocated to GP contracts for NHI clinics. This is to staff NHI clinics with doctors’ services in addition to the nurse’s services.
  • The Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan also reiterated the two main objectives for NHI which the Health Minister shared with Portfolio committee a few hours earlier.(Listed above)

The Finance Minister said that the NHI will be implemented over a period of 14 years.

For me, it is clear for the first time that the two Ministers (Health and Finance) are singing off the same song sheet. This is great improvement as they need each other to meet the needs of all our citizens for a Better health system for all our SA citizens.

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