Parliament, Friday, 22 November 2019 – The Portfolio Committee on Health today commenced with the KwaZulu-Natal leg of its public hearings on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in Jozini.
The public hearings, which started in the afternoon, saw a packed Makhonyeni Hall. This included members of the public, traditional healers and health care workers. The NHI is the financing system that will ensure all South African citizens and legal long-term residents are provided with essential healthcare, regardless of their employment status and ability to make a direct monetary contribution to the NHI Fund.
Committee Chairperson, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, made it clear from the onset of the meeting that the right to healthcare and the right to life supersedes all other rights. He said the committee is here to listen to all concerns and suggestions and will take it into consideration during deliberations on the Bill.
The vast majority of participants indicated they were in favour of the proposed Bill as they felt the proposals would lead to the improvement of health care for the poor and assist in ensuring better infrastructure, especially in deep rural areas.
Some of the concerns and clarity seeking questions that were raised at the hearings include the lack of clinics in some areas of this municipal district, the quality of ambulance services that needed to be addressed urgently and the role that traditional healers will play in the proposed system.
The committee further heard that the plight of the poor needed to be address in order to get quality health care from proper facilities and not community halls or child care centres as it currently the case in some areas. The need for medical professionals to improve their services to the public was also raised. Assistance for the disabled and those living with Albinism also featured at the hearings
Residents raised concerns regarding the intended implementation of 2016 as they felt the need is too urgent and that the NHI should be introduced immediately.
Dr Dhlomo said the committee will continue with its programme in KwaZulu-Natal until Monday before it moves to the Eastern Cape next week Friday.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, DR SIBONGISENI DHLOMO
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact the Committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Rajaa Azzakani (Ms)
Tel: 021 403 8437
Cell: 081 703 9542
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