Parliament, Sunday, 23 February 2020 – The Mogale City’s Kagiso Township residents inquired of the Portfolio Committee on Health during the public hearings yesterday about the delayed implementation of the National Health Insurance Fund.
According to the residents, the delay confirms the reservations which the people have already highlighted in the previous hearings,that the process of making NHI legislation is cumbersome and is inevitably going to delay the NHI benefits from reaching the poorest of the poor people who are dying because of the poor current public healthcare.
The Kagiso Township hosted the second leg of the Gauteng Province’s hearings on the Bill where the people who also came from outside Kagiso used the opportunity that was created for them to express their views on the Bill.
The committee acknowledged and appreciated the large number of residents that came to interact with the Bill in Kagiso. “We have had full halls since the Gauteng hearings started, and this bodes well for the endeavour to have a well representative legal framework which is responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people,” said Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, the Chairperson of the committee.
The majority of views that were highlighted in the Gauteng Province supported the Bill and called for its speedy implementation especially because of the positive spinoffs that its universal healthcare coverage promises.
A 69-year-old resident who participated in the hearings informed the committee that he is experiencing serious challenges with his kidneys, but is unable to go to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital because he doesn’t have taxi fare. He told the committee that he has been to the closest clinic to request to be treated through NHI, but he was unsuccessful.
He said his main concern was that the implementation of the Bill might be very late for him as he would be dead by then, given the worsening problem of his kidneys. “The problem of this person and others in the country creates a clearer and proper context about the importance and the urgency of the implementation of the Bill,” Dr Dhlomo said.
Some of the participants told the committee that they supported the Bill also because of the establishment of the NHI Board by the Minister of Health, and that they have confidence in the board, that according to them, will have enough capacity to protect the NHI from the syndrome of corruption. They also highlighted the possible impact of the one purchaser- single payer system that they said will assist in bringing the cost of healthcare down considerably.
The residents couldn’t beat about the bush on the problem of the crumbling public healthcare infrastructure during the hearings. They called for intensive investment in infrastructure development and maintenance especially of primary healthcare facilities that are in their communities or closer.
Like in the other provinces, although the majority view was for the Bill, however, views against the Bill were also expressed, and those views were based on, among other things, fear of corruption that has shifted away all what is meant to improve the lives of the ordinary South Africans.
Another major concern which the participants highlighted was the bad track record of the government departments of inefficiency and poor administration and, based on that, they called for the independent administration of the NHI. “It must be run as an independent entity away from the department,” reiterated the residents.
The committee will today hold public hearings at the Dlamini Multipopurse Centre, in Soweto.
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 with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Malatswa Molepo (Mr)
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 8438
Cell: 081 512 7920
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