South Africa: The NHI and Its Aspirations for Universal Healthcare - Points of Contention

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opinion

While South Africa's ambitions to offer more inclusive healthcare sounds laudable and pays homage to notions of inclusiveness and solidarity, the rapid and unfolding reality of this proposed healthcare reform leave us with a palpable sense of unease.

The recently published National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill is seen by the government as South Africa's pathway to achieving healthcare for all.

The bill has ambitious expectations to reduce South Africa's current disparities in access to healthcare. Yet experience from other low-and middle-income countries has shown us that the pathway to achieving universal health coverage is not straightforward.

Yet, there is an imperative for South Africa to align with World Health Organisation and United Nations declarations on universal health coverage which is seen as the pillar of sustainable development and global security.

It is worth noting the WHO definition on universal health coverage is that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

While South Africa's ambitions to offer more inclusive healthcare sounds laudable and pays homage to notions of...

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