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South Africa: COVID-19 Could Provide New Impetus For Implementing National Hhealth Insurance

The government’s response to COVID-19 is a building block towards the country’s healthcare future under the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme, said South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa during a recent virtual forum organised by the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF).

During the forum, Mr Ramaphosa gave the clearest indication yet that the NHI would become a reality, referring to it as the silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic. The president has previously said that, whether people liked it or not, the NHI had to be implemented.

He emphasised that the coronavirus outbreak that has gripped the world would not derail efforts to implement the controversial universal healthcare programme.

“We’re going through the process now of putting in the pillar of the NHI, and we want to see COVID-19 leaving a legacy of an NHI we can be proud of into the future,” he said.

Around 52% of COVID-19 patients who had recovered had gone through the country’s healthcare system, said the president, adding that this was an indication that the system could live up to the challenge of what’s to come after the pandemic.

The government’s reliance on a private-public partnership to deal with the outbreak, according to Mr Ramaphosa, in fact adequately prepared the ground for the NHI. “Because of COVID-19, we have had to quickly improve our health system to be ready to serve everyone, regardless of their ability to pay – which is a fundamental principle of the NHI.”

Source: Middle East Insurance Review

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