SABC News - NHI will fix our ailing health system: Denosa :Wednesday 28 March 2012

NHI will fix our ailing health system: Denosa

Wednesday 28 March 2012 16:43

COMMENT: Asanda Fongqo, Denosa

The writer says the gross staff- shortages, the capacity of managers are also areas of concern in the country’s state hospitals.

The writer says the gross staff- shortages, the capacity of managers are also areas of concern in the country’s state hospitals. (SABC)

In its 52nd National Conference held in Polokwane in December 2007 the ruling African National Congress (ANC) resolved that both Education and Health should be the key priorities of the country.

The conference further "re-affirmed the implementation of the National Health Insurance system by further strengthening the public health care system and ensuring adequate provision of funding". Given our painful history of political and economic segregation South Africa remains one of the most segregated societies in the world. This has resulted in the majority of the population not being able to afford quality health care.

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi when addressing the Denosa 10th National Congress in 2010 emphasised that our health system is expensive, unsustainable and curative rather than preventative. This assertion cannot be disputed. As Denosa we welcome the introduction of the NHI as the delivery of quality healthcare to all is central in our agenda. We believe that the NHI will bridge the gap between the elite and the poor majority, in terms of access to healthcare.

However we are wary that there is a strong need to capacitate nurses on its merit and for this reason we have committed ourselves to play a key role. The announcement made by the Minister of Health last week that NHI will from next month be piloted in 10 districts across the country is heartening as we have been very critical with the delay of its implementation.

"We congratulate the Minister for this bold and calculated move. We believe that the success of this scheme does not only depend on him but to the entire population, in particular health workers. We once more commit ourselves in playing a key role in strengthening and capacitating nurses on NHI as they are in the forefront of its implementation," says Nurse stalwart and DENOSA General Secretary Thembeka Gwagwa.

The infrastructure, management, nurses, doctors and the public are all central in this process that aims to take the wellbeing of the people to where it is supposed to be regardless of their socio-economic status.

As Denosa we are comfortable with the selection criteria of these 10 districts, which centered on the burden of diseases. Demographics, socio economic status, health service performance and district management capacity. We believe that this approach is comprehensive.

Noted areas of discomfort around the NHI will include the tax-based funding model which Treasury has proposed. This model will hit hard on the working class and this will continue to have an adverse impact in dealing with the existing inhumane economic disparities in South Africa.

The state of our hospitals and clinics, gross staff- shortages, the capacity of managers are also areas of concern. Notably, the 10-point plan (where NHI is also encompassed) and the green paper on NHI which were released by the Department of Health talk to these issues. What then becomes important is for us to work together as a country in implementing these progressive strategies.

In the final analysis, it is an open secret that not all is well in our health system and we accept that the NHI presents an opportunity to turn around the status quo. We also accept that there are a number of challenges to deal with to ensure a successful roll out of this important scheme.

The infrastructure, management, nurses, doctors and the public are all central in this process that aims to take the wellbeing of the people to where it is supposed to be regardless of their socio-economic status.

Asanda Fongqo is the Head of Communications at Denosa.

 

 

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