NEWS & ANALYSIS

SA does not need the NHI now – IFP

Party says current problems need to be fixed first

SA does not need the NHI now, what we need is to fix what is wrong first

8 August 2019

The IFP notes that government, through the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize has formally tabled the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill before Parliament.

We are of the view that government must not hide behind the shortcomings in the health care system to place before the country an ideal which we all support. 

While the NHI will only come to full effect in 2026, there has to be identifiable improvements in the health care system from now until that time. 

The IFP hopes that the public participation process which Parliament is constitutionally mandated to proceed with, will bring to the fore the myriad of issues plaguing our health care system. 

From the basics in health care to the high cost of medicine, to holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for inflated costs. 

We have far too many dilapidated hospitals and infrastructure, broken down hospital management systems, overworked and underpaid health care professionals, nursing and community health care worker vacancies, and a shortage of doctors. 

We cannot support legislation when the basics are not covered first. Universal health care and access for all South Africans is an ideal we must live up to, but our capacity and capability is a prerequisite for such delivery. 

The IFP recognises that there has to be a balance in cost between Private Health Care Service Providers and the state, as we must ensure that health care is affordable across the board. 

Private care, is way out of the reach for the ordinary South African let alone those who have medical aid and are suffering from chronic illnesses or diseases. 

We need a comprehensive package to make medical care affordable for all South Africans. 

Our people are tired of the continued lip service being paid to issues which are in fact life and death in terms of health care provision. 

South Africa does not need the NHI now, what we need is to fix what is wrong first before we implement a grand idea with less-than-grand infrastructure and systems in place.

Issued by Narend Singh, IFP Chief Whip in Parliament, 8 August 2019