South Africa: Nicholas Crisp - a Man On a Mission to Make NHI Work

(file photo).

In the cacophony of dissent over the National Health Insurance Bill, Dr Nicholas Crisp seems a rare voice of reason. Indeed, he's almost persuasive.

Nicholas Crisp has been hanging around the health system in South Africa for a long time. After qualifying as a doctor in the 1980s, between 1994 and 1999 he worked as the head of the Limpopo health department. Later he was acting CEO of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS). But, like so many other health activists with ethics, he was blown out of the public health system during the disastrous reign of former health minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang between 1999 and 2008.

That was when the rot in SA's health system really set in.

Since then, Crisp has worked a lucrative business as a private consultant, ironically often ministering to an ailing public sector. In the capacity of Mr Fix-It, his work has led him to poke his nose into almost every corner of the health system, most recently into the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

"For me, there's a solution to every problem. The joy of my life is trying to find them. And, in my experience, the people who work in the...

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