South Africa: NHI Bill Is Not What the ICU Doctor Ordered


Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize appears surprisingly calm for a politician at the centre of a tsunami. That can mean one of two things: either he is a seasoned commander who knows how to keep his head in a battle or he's a politician in denial about the extent of the crisis around him. Either way, a heavy responsibility for millions of lives falls on his shoulders.

Earlier this week Daily Maverick had an exclusive interview with Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize at his office on the 28th floor of the Civitas Building in Pretoria. The interview was not meant to focus on National Health Insurance (NHI). In my view, there were more urgent and immediate questions that needed answers. But after the publication of the NHI Bill in Parliament on 8 August it was not an issue that could be avoided.

In my hands I carried a copy of the Consensus Report of the South African Lancet National Commission titled "Confronting the Right to Ethical and Accountable Quality Healthcare in South Africa" as well as the recently launched Presidential Health Compact.

Both reports are exhaustive and based on thorough research and consensus-building. Both map practical pathways to fixing...

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