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Mediclinic News : Free education and healthcare for poor, same side of the coin


Free education and healthcare for poor, same side of the coin




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BUSINESS DAY Education and healthcare are the two issues in which the state has to provide the resources, writes Aaron Motsoaledi. The Department of Health will invest R17bn over the next three years into upgrading public clinics to "workable" levels, in line with a broader preparation for introducing the National Health Insurance (NHI) system. The government has concluded an investigation into the amount required to upgrade the clinics into facilities capable of delivering services to their communities. This figure is insufficient for high-level services, but would hopefully provide key medication and the infrastructure medical staff demand. NHI and the #FeesMustFall campaigns are the same side of the coin, rather than diametrically opposed initiatives. While the world economic systems are divided into communism or socialism and capitalism, education and healthcare are the two indisputable issues in which the state has to provide the resources. Many people criticising NHI are the same who are wholeheartedly supporting the #FeesMustFall campaign without recognising the link between the two. Education ministries provide bursaries for the poor who cannot afford to further their studies, but the health-care system helps only the rich. If there is to be equity, specifically free education for the poor at tertiary level, there must be free medical assistance for the poor as well. Medical aids are nothing more than prepayments for future medical demands, because nothing in life is free. An article published in medical journal The Lancet indicates the world is on the brink of the third medical transition — essentially change that affects populations rather than individuals. The first was the introduction of clean water and sanitation in the 18th century; the second was widespread vaccination policies in the 20th century and now the focus is on universal health-care financing that would ensure every citizen has access to equitable healthcare based on their health requirement and not their socioeconomic status. Universal health coverage is an issue incorporated in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The myths about NHI ignore that it is a system that pools capital to allow every citizen access to good-quality healthcare — a concept that medical aid schemes already employ. SA does not have a debate about the quality of healthcare, since the reality is that the depth of the pocket determines the level of care. We need to serve citizens in line with international conventions.
Created at 2016/10/31 09:08 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/10/31 09:08 AM by Mediclinic