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2019/12/27
2019/12/02 09:39 AM
MAIL & GUARDIAN

There are three major aspects of the NHI Bill that we think need to change. Let us know what you think and we will incorporate your views into our submission on NHI. Our link is at the bottom of this article.

National Health Insurance can be divisive, not just because of what it proposes to do but because of how it is often sold as an all-or-nothing issue — either you buy into NHI completely, or you want things to stay essentially the same.
  
2019/12/262019/12/02 08:56 AM
IOL
CAPE ARGUS

The DA on Monday said that after scrutinising the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill it had identified areas it would use as the basis of opposition.

“We have, in fact, discovered 25 areas of this legislation that we will be opposing in Parliament when we start with clause-by-clause analysis,” said DA MP Siviwe Gwarube.

“These areas we believe are incorrect or inconsistent with the idea of achieving the universal healthcare.” The DA maintained that the bill spoke to the use of money, not quality and sustainability of healthcare.

It insisted that there had not been an overhaul of healthcare and that there was a lack of innovation, meaningful focus on preventative healthcare and growing distrust between the public health system and the private health industry, among other issues.

Gwarube noted that there were too many vague elements of the bill which indicated poor planning, and the bill’s funding was in question.

“We raise the issue of the fact that the Health minister and Finance minister seem to be at odds with how the bill will be funded.”

Her colleague, Lindy Wilson, said the party had long held that the clear erosion of the provincial powers in the bill went against the National Health Act and to an extent the provisions contained in Schedule 4 of the Constitution.

“This will be teased out and tested by our legal team when the time comes,” Wilson said.

She also said there were concerns about how foreign nationals were to be treated in the bill that went against Section 27 of the Constitution.

Wilson added that the public participation process was flawed and that the public were not properly informed about what the bill meant and contained.

Mbulelo Bara, DA MP serving on the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), said the party would ensure that the second parliamentary house followed its processes to ensure the bill met constitutional scrutiny.

“Gone are the days where the NCOP simply rubber stamps the decisions made by the National Assembly,” Bara said.

Gwarube said that the DA wanted each one of the submissions they collected to be considered along with others submitted directly to Parliament.
“One of the fights we are going to have and we are to mount in Parliament is each and every single submission, including those sent directly to Parliament, needs to be scrutinised by Parliament and by the (health portfolio) committee itself,” Gwarube said.

She also said the days in which the national legislature could simply outsource its responsibility to a third party were over.

“We as public representatives need to go through these submissions ourselves and we need to ensure that the views of South Africans are taken into consideration in passing of this bill.”
Health portfolio committee chairperson Sibongiseni Dhlomo referred questions to the parliamentary communications unit, which said he was locked up in a public hearing.
  
2019/12/232019/12/02 09:38 AM
BUSINESSTECH

Public interest law centre, Section 27, has outlined its three major concerns with South Africa’s incoming National Health Insurance.

Open for public comment until 29 November, the National Health Insurance Bill aims to provide universal access to quality health care services across the country.

However, the bill has courted controversy since its inception with concerns raised about how it will be funded, the quality of care, and the future of private medical aid schemes.
In an analysis, Section 27 says that there are currently three major aspects of the NHI Bill that need to change.

These include:

Governance – The Minister of Health appoints the NHI Fund Board members (after appointing the ad hoc panel that interviews and recommends them), the Board Chairperson, and the CEO of the NHI Fund. In simple terms, decision-making is far too concentrated;
Transparency – To increase public trust in the NHI and to reduce the risk of corruption under NHI, it is imperative that all NHI-related processes and decisions are as transparent as possible;

Try before you buy – The NHI Bill introduces a range of new structures and administrations that are untested. We are bringing the establishment of these new structures into law, with no way to turn back if they fail, and without any transition provisions that could stagger implementation and allow for learnings.

Healthcare workers not happy

A recent report by trade union Solidarity has also warned that the incoming National Health Insurance (NHI) will have an impact on the healthcare industry.

Nicolien Welthagen, a research psychologist at the Solidarity Research Institute, said that the report is based on questionnaires sent to healthcare practitioners in the private as well as the public sector across the country.

The general feedback shows that healthcare practitioners have huge concerns about the proposed NHI.

“The findings indicate that there is distrust towards the government regarding the way they want to implement and manage the NHI. 80% of respondents are negative or sceptical about the NHI,” said Welthagen.

“According to the results of this report, the respondents do not believe that the NHI will succeed in improving the healthcare system and service delivery.

“Only 15% of respondents believe that it would be possible to successfully implement the NHI, and 84.5% are of the view that the implementation of the NHI could destabilise the healthcare system in South Africa and could harm the high-quality service already being provided by the private sector,” she said.

Welthagen added that the report further highlights the enormous risk that the emigration of health practitioners poses to the future of healthcare in South Africa.

“There are serious concerns about a shortage of healthcare workers, the more so in view of the fact that 20.8% of the respondents indicated that they had already taken steps to emigrate, and a further 41.06% would consider emigrating when the NHI is implemented,” Welthagen said.
  
2019/12/062019/12/09 08:44 AM
BUSINESS LIVE

The medical schemes regulator has sent shock waves through the industry in announcing plans to scrap by March 2021 the pared-down schemes and primary health-care products used by low-income families.

The move has also caught the Treasury on the back foot, with sources saying it was not aware of the plan.

Without an alternative, the demise of these products could leave hundreds of thousands of families without access to private health care.
The move will not only affect consumers but also throw a spanner in the works for medical schemes and insurers that have been developing cheap products aimed at low-income workers. Many of these products are subsidised by employers and, at a few hundred rand a month, cost a fraction of traditional medical-scheme cover.

While the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) said it was developing a new and more affordable prescribed minimum benefit package with a strong emphasis on primary health care, the package has yet to be costed. Industry sources are sceptical that it will be in place by the 2021 deadline.

The development is at odds with a long-standing policy aimed at making health insurance and medical scheme cover more affordable for millions of people, said the country’s biggest medical scheme administrator Discovery Health.

"It would force hundreds of thousands of families with current primary care and related policies, providing valuable access to affordable health care, to be out of cover. This means that they will lose valuable employer subsidies and will be forced to pay out of their own pockets for private GP and other care," said Discovery Health CEO Jonathan Broomberg.

While only about 15.4 % of the population — or 8.92-million people — are members of medical schemes, millions more pay for private health care out of their own pockets.

As many as 45% of households use private health-care practitioners, such as GPs or dentists, according to Insight Actuaries. CMS registrar Sipho Kabane issued a circular on December 4, saying no low-cost benefit options would be permitted going forward, and no more products based on exemptions to the Medical Schemes Act would be allowed after March 2021.

Major concern

Products caught up in this net include bargaining-council medical schemes that cover workers in industries such as transport and fishing, which have for decades been allowed to provide less cover than traditional medical schemes, as well as cheap primary health insurance products sold by the likes of Momentum, Sanlam and Discovery Life.

The exemption framework had created opportunities for companies to offer products that were not in consumers’ best interests, Kabane said. "Our major concern is that they overpromise and underdeliver," he said in an interview with Business Day on Thursday.

"The people that buy them think they are fully fledged medical scheme products. They think they have comprehensive cover, and only discover at the time of access [to care] that they do not." He said allowing products with different levels of cover to continue was at odds with the government’s plans for National Health Insurance (NHI), or universal health coverage.

"The NHI talks about a comprehensive benefit package. If we allow the market to be flooded with packages that have no intention of being comprehensive, it will make the transition period very difficult." Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) MD Katlego Mothudi said that the organisation was "deeply concerned" about the circular, and was subjecting it to a technical review to fully understand its implications.

The BHF is an industry association for medical schemes and administrators.
  
2019/12/062019/12/09 08:49 AM
BUSINESSTECH

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has published a new circular in which it prohibits South African medical aids from offering Low-Cost Benefit Options (LCBO) to low-income market segments.

This decision is to align such products ‘with the broader health policy discussion that seeks to ensure adequate access to care, irrespective of the economic status of the population’, the regulator said.
  
2019/12/052019/12/09 08:34 AM
NEWS24
CITY PRESS
DAILY MAVERICK

Residents of the OR Tambo District in the Eastern Cape were mostly in favour of the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill at a public hearing in Mthatha, but raised questions on how it will solve the Eastern Cape's ailing health system, especially in rural areas.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health held the district’s public hearings at the Mthatha Town Hall on Sunday. The committee wrapped up the Eastern Cape public hearings in King William’s Town on Monday. The Eastern Cape is the fifth province where the public have had the opportunity to have their say on the NHI Bill.
  
2019/12/052019/12/09 08:36 AM
HEALTH24

If all goes according to plan the NHI Bill may just be on the President’s desk to be signed into law by July or August next year, according to portfolio committee chair Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

When asked about the legislative process going forward, chair of the Portfolio Committee on Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo told Spotlight the Bill might be brought before Parliament by May or June next year to be debated and if there is agreement and it is passed the Bill could be forwarded to the President to be signed into law by July or August.

Dhlomo was speaking on the side lines of the public hearings on the NHI Bill in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
  
2019/12/05
2019/12/09 08:36 AM
THE WITNESS - PAGE 9

Desirable as a national health insurance may be, South Africa can neither afford it nor manage it properly because of the atrocities state of governance.

Like the white paper, the NHI bill is badly written, and the research informing it seems inadequate. It gives far too many powers to the minister of Health and facilities further looting and rewards to patronage networks.
  
2019/12/05
2019/12/09 08:37 AM
THE CITIZEN - PAGE 12

Our poor, ordinary people cannot wait for the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) because the current health system has been brutal towards us.

This was clear from the fact that everywhere the health portfolio committee chairperson, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, and his team went during their current public hearings on the NHI, there is one refrain from the people: the insurance must be implemented as soon as possible.
  
2019/12/05
2019/12/09 08:38 AM
BUSINESS DAY - PAGE 3

Parliament has been inundated with written response to the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, the government’s first set of proposed laws for realising its ambitions of universal health coverage, which was released for public comment in August.

The sheer volume of submissions poses a daunting challenge for members of the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on health, who must find a rational way to sift the substantive from the superficial, or risk being accused of subordinating the public consultation process.
  
2019/12/052019/12/09 08:40 AM
BHEKISISA

Public comment on the NHI Bill has closed, but there are other ways you can add your voice to this historic overhaul of the country’s health services. Find out in this latest instalment of “Compass”, our series on the NHI.

The scheme, for which membership will be compulsory, is a state health financing system that will buy healthcare services from public and private providers for the entire nation, regardless of their income. According to the current version of the NHI Bill, for which public submissions closed last week, the NHI will be fully operational by 2026.
  
2019/12/052019/12/09 08:41 AM
BUSINESSTECH

Civil society group Outa has asked parliament to rewrite sections of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill to protect patients and block unreasonable extra taxes.

The group said that while universal health coverage is both a social and moral necessity for the country, the rights of taxpayers who will fund the NHI must be protected.
  
2019/12/052019/12/09 08:42 AM
702

The Dullah Omar Institute made a submission to the Portfolio Committee on Health on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill last Friday.

Even though the institute supports the idea of universal health care coverage, its submission highlights concerns about transparency and accountability to members of the public in the governance structures of the NHI Fund.
  
2019/12/042019/12/09 08:32 AM
IOL

Health is the “bottom line” of the climate crisis, and the injustice of climate apartheid against the poor and most vulnerable in South Africa demands action from the country’s health sector as a whole.

This is why Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has been petitioned to take urgent action on climate, energy and health and to adopt an active position in steering the work of the recently- formed Presidential Change Climate Change Commission.
  
2019/12/04
2019/12/09 08:33 AM
DAILY DISPATCH - PAGE 13

Providing quality medical care for all South African has been an issue the state has grappled with since the dawn of democracy. The government hopes that through its proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, which is currently the subject of public hearings, it will have the means to provide universal healthcare regardless of socio economic status.

The NHI bill, once passed through parliament and signed into law by the president, will see citizens being able to access medical care from both and private health care facilities.
  
2019/12/03
2019/12/09 08:29 AM
BUSINESS DAY - PAGE 2

Parliament’s portfolio committee on health will only consider how to manage the vast volume of written submission it has received in response to the national health insurance (NHI) bill in February, says committee chair Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

At issue is whether MPs scrutinise each of the hundreds of thousands of submissions themselves or outsource some of the work to a third party.
  
2019/12/03
2019/12/09 08:30 AM
DAILY DISPATCH - PAGE 4

Pregnant women in labour have to hire vehicles to get them to hospital because ambulances don’t arrive.

This was one of the many grievances Mthatha residents aired to MPs on the health portfolio committee at hearings on the proposed National Health insurance Bill on Sunday.
  
2019/12/022019/12/09 08:20 AM
BUSINESSTECH

The UK Government has announced that it intends to create a fast-track route for migrants in the health service.

Immigration consultants Breytenbachs said that the new fast-track visa has been dubbed the ‘NHS visa’ as it aims to attract more migrants to work in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

The UK Government hopes that this new visa will offset a possible fall in NHS workers from the UK, due to Brexit, it said.

“The NHS visa will allow the UK Government to control immigration, while at the same time ensuring that there is not a skills shortage in the health service.

About 153,000 of 1.2 million health workers are non-British, and critics have said the end of freedom of movement for EU citizens after Brexit would deprive the NHS, one of the world’s largest employers, of a vital pool of workers, Reuters reported.

“The visa will cost £464 (R8,800). The cost is half the normal visa fee. The visa process will also be fast-tracked, and persons can expect decisions on their visas within two weeks.

“Applicants for the NHS visa will be liable to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is £400 (R7,500) per year. It is, however, not clear yet, whether the NHS visa will operate outside the Tier 2 immigration route,” it said.
Other visas

The NHS visa comes in the aftermath of some other exciting announcements for the UK immigration landscape, said Breytenbachs.

“In the second half of 2019, the UK Government has announced its intention to create a new fast-track visa for individuals with skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

“They also intend to create a new immigration route for overseas graduates, which will enable them to stay for two years after their studies.”

It comes at a time when healthcare professionals in South Africa have expressed concerns about the incoming National Health Insurance.

Concerns include how it will be funded, the quality of care, and the future of private medical aid schemes in the country.

Trade Union Solidarity recently published a report showing that as many as one in five healthcare workers have already taken steps to emigrate, and a further 41% would consider emigrating when the NHI is implemented.
  
2019/12/02
2019/12/09 08:21 AM
BELLD - PAGE 12

Die Nasionale Gesondheihdsversekering (NGV) gaan katastrofaal vir Suid-Africa wees, en nie net vir private hospitalgroepe soos Mediclinic of Netcare nie, het Johann Rupert, voorsitter van Remgro, verlede week op dié beleggingsmaatskappy se jaarvergardering gesê.

“Wat het die staat in die afgelope 40 jaar sukesvol gedoen? Noem vir my ‘n onderneeming wat die staat korrek bestuur het,” het Ruppert gevra.
  
2019/12/022019/12/09 08:31 AM
FIN24

Trade union Solidarity intensified its war against the government's proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) and is now threatening to take the fight all the way to the Constitutional Court.

The NHI, which is before parliament for consideration, is the government's plan to provide universal healthcare access to all South Africans. It is expected to be rolled out by 2026 and is estimated to cost R256bn.
  
2019/11/292019/11/04 08:40 AM
THE CITIZEN
SANDTON CHRONICAL

The government-initiated National Health Insurance (NHI) has been lauded as a great development towards achieving equitable healthcare, particularly for the poor, but traditional healers believe they have been marginalised from the new dispensation.

This emerged from the public hearings undertaken by the portfolio committee on health countrywide to get input on the NHI Bill.
  
2019/11/29
2019/12/02 09:40 AM
THE STAR

An astonishing 43 bogus doctors have been discovered practising illegally in South Africa this year alone.

Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said these illegal medical practitioners preyed on unsuspecting members of the public.

She said the majority of the bogus doctors had been found in Sekhonyana said there had been successful convictions, although the data was inconclusive about how many people had been sent to jail.

She said these “doctors” pose a risk to patients as they may provide incorrect diagnoses, prescriptions and surgical procedures.

Sekhonyana said the HPCSA has established the Inspectorate Office to deal with the issue of illegal practice by unregistered persons.

This is working with law enforcement, the National Prosecuting Authority, other regulatory bodies and the public to identify bogus practitioners. She said that if something went wrong with a patient, the HPCSA would have no jurisdiction to discipline unregistered doctors.

Although some of the illegal practitioners arrested were foreign nationals, Sekhonyana said the Inspectorate Office has also arrested bogus practitioners who are South African citizens.
  
2019/11/282019/12/02 08:50 AM
DAILY MAVERICK

Low turnout and poor organisation marred the public hearing for the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill held at Olive Convention Centre in Durban on 23 November 2019.

The hearing was supposed to start at 10:00, but at the appointed time sound technicians and camera personnel were still setting up and people were queuing outside the venue. The hearing started an hour late.
  
2019/11/282019/12/02 09:35 AM
FIN24

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday afternoon that the National Health Insurance system was the only opportunity for the SA public healthcare system to shape up - government could do much to improve healthcare now, he said.

He was replying orally to questions from members of the NCOP.
  
2019/11/272019/12/02 09:31 AM
HEALTH-E NEWS

Across the provinces, the hearings reveal that people do in fact know what they want from a functional health system that serves their needs. But we have to ask, have people been adequately educated about the bill?

Over a third of the National Health Insurance (NHI) public hearings have been completed. The process, led by Parliament’s portfolio committee for health, aims to go around the country specifically rural areas to collect the views of ordinary South Africans regarding the proposed policy.

The first hearing Health-e attended was in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga which had an attendance of more than a thousand people, Parliament said. To date, it remains one of the longest hearing we’ve reported from. Many of the attendees were dressed in political party regalia, which showed how intensely politicised the proposed policy is.

But the hearings are not just about the NHI Bill, they tell a deeper story.

As people line up to say their piece, they crush misguided and classist views that people from rural areas can be easily duped into buying into the draft legislation without fully comprehending what it means.

Yes, many of the oral submissions were in support of the Bill. Some of the submissions were clearly politically motivated, delivered by members of the governing party and alliance partners.

But the majority of the oral submissions came from ordinary people — the elderly, the sick and the poor — who know exactly what they want from the politicians they elected and the type of healthcare services that will serve their communities. These people are 80% of South Africans who use public health facilities. They are subjected to the best and worst parts of our healthcare.

More than anything, South Africans are using these hearings as a chance to look at their elected leaders in the eye and tell them what everyday life looks like for them. Whether it’s endless days without water, long queues at the clinic or constant medicine shortages. These are the people who truly know what the public health system needs. Nobody else, except these people living in these communities, can give a proper diagnosis of our public health system.

They came prepared with highlighted copies of the bill. Notes on the side and stacks of files with their recommendations critiques.

Many had ideas. For instance, Bernadette Daniels from Upington in the Northern Cape said the bad roads in her neighbourhood make it difficult for her to access health services. In her community, doctors don’t come to her local clinic because of the gravel roads. Daniels is one of many people in rural areas and other ignored places across the country that understands that a functional healthcare system is not only the responsibility of the national health department. These areas are notorious for roads that prevent ambulances from fetching people in need of urgent medical attention.

Missing Voices

A majority of the hearings were packed, except for De Aar in the Northern Cape where only 73 people showed up. But the faces of young people were not a popular feature. When they were present, very little to none took to the podium to make a submission. Some of them came from political parties to support or voice their rejection of the bill.

But what about apolitical young people? What about their views on the health policy that could possibly affect how they could acquire healthcare services in the future. The danger of young voices missing from the hearings creates a gap of the government not knowing the kind of healthcare young people needs.

The youth account for almost a third of the population — almost 18 million people  — according to the latest population figures by Stats SA. The current model of healthcare is not youth-friendly, experts have warned. For instance, less than half of young people who are between the ages of 15 and 19, who are HIV-positive are on treatment.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s marketing strategy involves securing advertising space in community newspapers for the NHI public submissions, according to the portfolio committee’s media officer Yoliswa Landu. Is this an ideal to reach young people who spend a lot of time on their smartphones?

There’s no one side to the NHI conversation, it’s too important for nuance to be left out. While it’s clear that there is much support for the Bill, the criticism and concerns cannot be ignored.

Health workers participation
 
For the NHI to work, government would need health workers the buy-in and support. But in the majority of the public hearing did not have any views from them. Health-e went to healthcare facilities in Northern Cape’s capital, Kimberley and asked health workers if they were aware of public hearings, the answer was negative. Doctors and nurses said that they do not understand what the bill is and that the government did not make an effort to call a meeting to inform them about the policy and how it applies to them. This stopped them from making any presentations to the portfolio committee.

While a different story can be told about Ga-Nkoana village in Limpopo. It was a Sunday morning, one could mistake the overwhelming white shirts that occupied most of the seats in the packed hall for a church uniform.

These women in white shirts were community health workers and home-based care workers. They are the driving force of healthcare in the area one of the councilors remarked as he took the podium.

Those who came forward to the mic said that they support the NHI because in their understanding it would mean that their patients would get better access to care. But they expressed that they need urgent intervention from government to address medicine stockouts as they have firsthand experience of patients suffering without treatment. They flagged this as a great challenge in their work.

They even called for the immediate passing of the bill.

But they’re also cognisant of how the fact that rural areas do not attract specialists, leaving people with no choice but to travel to cities like Pretoria to get cancer treatment.

“This area that we live in is a rural area. What measures are you going to put in place to ensure that [medical] specialists are attracted to this area?” Tabea Matlogongwane put forward to the committee.

Echoing Matlogongwane words, a resident in Lenyenye, Tzaneen, said:

“The NHI is a great idea. We can make it work. The problem is that the focus of implementing good ideas are always in cities and metros. When the government talks about the poor, they always refer to the poor in the cities or townships. In most cases, people in rural areas are left outside such programs.”

This resident’s point also speaks to the conversations around the bill. And how the middle class has taken its stand and only their views on the draft legislation matter. Many say these hearings are just politicking. That may be the case in some instances. But they have opened up an opportunity for the periphery to demand their healthcare needs too.

As the hearings venture into the remaining provinces, perhaps Dhlomo’s words sum up what the majority of submissions reflect.

“South Africans, those who have spoken, are seeing this bill as a way of creating social solidarity they haves finding space and time to support the have nots, the rich, finding space and time to actually embrace the poor, the young and healthy, finding space and time to embrace the old and the sick.”
  
2019/11/262019/12/02 08:48 AM
NEWS24
HEALTH-E NEWS

While many showed fervent support for the proposed legislation, the parliamentary committee was also was met with scepticism over the funding of the National Health Insurance (NHI).

Residents of Ethekwini and Harry Gwala municipalities came out in numbers to raise their concerns and views regarding the NHI bill as the public hearings on the draft legislation took place in KwaZulu Natal from this past Friday until Monday this week.

The hearings were held in four different municipalities in the province, including in the Durban CBD in Ethekwini and uMzimkhulu, a rural community in the Harry Gwala district municipality.

The public hearings on the NHI bill are conducted by the parliamentary portfolio on health, chaired by Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo. KwaZulu Natal is the fourth province the public hearings have taken place in, coming after Northern Cape, Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga.

Concerns on how NHI will be funded, the current quality of healthcare in public hospitals and clinics, unease about potential corruption and shortage of medication and health workers were also recurring points that residents in both municipalities raised.

Durban deliberates

A majority of the members of the community who were at the meeting in Durban supported the bill and said its aim is clear. Additionally, residents said universal healthcare will be beneficial to many people who cannot afford private healthcare services.

But many also raised concerns about the bill’s shortfalls, including which groups of the population have been left out and the granular details regarding how the NHI Fund is going to be managed.

“I am in support with the NHI but my worry is that even though the committee has broken it down, this is not enough. We are not told how is it going to be managed, we are not told about the disadvantages that we are going to face in the near future. The disadvantages of the NHI were not shared with us,” Lwazi Mthembu, a resident of Ward 8, said.

“Everything has its negative side, but we are not hearing it these public engagements. We also need to know the bad stuff about the NHI so that we will be aware of it.”

Meanwhile, the current problems in the public healthcare system have others feeling wary about the proposed legislation.

Thembi Mncwango said before implementing the NHI, Ethekwini municipality must address and find solutions to the shortage of beds in hospitals which results in patients being turned away.

“There’s also not enough staffs in hospitals, too much negligent and poor services yet many qualified nurses are unemployed. Ambulances are coming late, or don’t come at all,” added.

Much like in the other provinces, Ethekwini residents raised concerns about corruption and how the NHI Fund will be protected from after implementation.

“South Africa is the number one country when it comes to corruption, the government itself is corrupt, so I would not be surprised to see the failing of this thing,” said Mohamed Mohamed.

uMzimkhulu weighs in

The majority of people attending the hearings at the Clydesdale Community Hall believe that NHI will assist in providing quality healthcare for everyone, however, uMzimkhulu residents expressed concerns over the management of funds and distrust in government health facilities. 

Hlanganini Lukhozi, a community member in Harry Gwala district municipality, said the government has continually failed to provide quality health services. 

“My issue is that as a taxpayer we’re already paying a lot of tax to the government which is known for misusing public funds. There’s a lot of board committees that have been appointed in government institutions and a majority of those are being crippled by corruption. I’m sceptical about how the board will be appointed,” he explained.

Sindi Nkalo is a councillor and she welcomed the bill and stated how implementing the bill will ensure the equalisation of quality health care for all people. “The bill will ensure that everyone receives quality health care despite their social class. But the NHI should also establish a fund that will help attract and retain health professionals in rural areas like uMzimkhulu” she added.

Other residents wanted the NHI to be fully implemented as soon as possible, citing a lack of health facilities in the area uMzimkhulu. Their expectations are that the NHI will come with the needed infrastructure and that, hopefully, the government will be able to provide more ambulances to minimise the huge cost they pay to access specialists in towns such as Pietermaritzburg.

“All I want to know is when we can get registered and how. I also want to ask the government to ensure that contraceptives are always in stock. I believe with this bill that shortage of medication will be something of the past” said Khanyisile Dlamini.

Residents of both districts were aware of the NHI and while most acknowledge the need for more equitable health systems, anxieties about whether the policy will be implemented in a just and corruption-free manner linger. Additionally, people from living in rural areas felt that the NHI public hearings are not covering enough of those areas, which need for quality healthcare in rural areas, informal settlements and townships.

The final round of public hearings for the year will take place in the Eastern Cape. In a press statement, the national department of health that that eight new NHI-compliant clinics will be handed over in the province by the end of the month, including the infamous Village Clinic in Lusikisiki which was opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September. After seven years of the community protesting, activists threatening legal action and a settlement being reached, a newly built permanent Village Clinic was opened.

Written submissions on the NHI Bill are open until 29 November 2019. The public hearings will for the remaining provinces resume mid-January and end the first week of February next year
  
2019/11/26
2019/12/02 09:00 AM
SOWETAN - PAGE 6

The DA has bought into question parliament’s public participation process over the National Health Insurance Bill, saying some of the public hearings were hijacked for political purposes.

The bill seeks to establish and provide mandatory pre-payment health-care services for all South Africans.
  
2019/11/26
2019/12/02 09:01 AM
THE MERCURY - PAGE 7

The DA wants each once of the submissions it collected on the National Health Insurance bill to be considered along with others
  
2019/11/26
2019/12/02 09:04 AM
BUSINESS DAY - PAGE 3

The DA will present parliament with 87,000 written submissions it has collected on National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, and is insisting that these and all other inputs are scruitinised by MPs rather than being outsourced to a third party.

The DA’s call for legislation to roll up their sleeves follows parliament’s controversial decision in 2018 to contract recruiting company Silumoko Consulting to assess hundreds of thousands submissions received in response to its constitutional review of land expropriation without compensation.
  
2019/11/26
2019/12/02 09:05 AM
DAILY DISPATCH - PAGE 4

The DA has queried parliament’s public participation process over the National Health Insurance Bill, saying some public hearings were hi-jacked for political purposes.

The bill seeks to provide mandatory prepaid healthcare services for all South Africans.
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