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Mediclinic News : NHI starting point has to be societal will

Title

NHI starting point has to be societal will

Date

2016-08-01

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News Description

SURGICAL NEWS A crisis in South Africa's healthcare services is looming because of the unsustainable, inequitable two-tier model that still prevails, Prof Robert van Niekerk, Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Rhodes University, warned. Elaborating, he reminded delegates that 4.1% of total healthcare costs was spent on the private sector catering for 16% of population i.e. (8.2 million people with financial means, as opposed to 4.2% spent on public health care catering for 84% of population i.e.42 million people reliant on public care. Faced with this level of disparity, he noted, it is clear that what the country is facing, is a deep rooted crisis. An ameliorative approach to public policy which focuses on poverty, he added, had failed having not met the polarising consequences of inequality. The planned National Health Insurance (NHI), therefore, represented a new opportunity in this regard with its strategic goal being universal healthcare access to all legal residents of South Africa regardless of how much they earn. As van Niekerk explained, it would ultimately provide the framework for all citizens of all classes to share in the establishment and the sustaining a shared public good. "The starting point of NHI, however, has to be societal will," he stressed. "The middle class in particular must be convinced of the value of the 'big idea' presented by a national healthcare service (NHS) that draws the middleclass, working-class and poor into a single system of quality healthcare provision. "The real driver must surely be the institutionalisation of social solidarity through an NHS, and investment in universal health care as a shared public good." The UK's NHS, said van Niekerk, and served as an example of a system which, at the time it was instituted, was a vital building block for rebuilding the nation after the ravages of the Second World War. "The architecture of the wider society is starting to fragment. We have to take the path of social solidarity in order to survive as a nation. "There is a much bigger picture. If we look at the healthcare spending in countries like Cuba, South Africa and Norway, we see that they are about the same, but the outcomes are totally different. Resourcing is not the problem. The catalyst for success is societal will to envision a new way of citizens living together and sharing resources for the common societal good."
Created at 2016/08/18 01:03 PM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/08/18 01:03 PM by Mediclinic