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NHI will address apartheid legacy of unequal healthcare: COSATU

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COSATU has welcomed the signing of the NHI Bill by the President, calling the move a major transformation intervention by the state since 1994.

Government has emphasised that following the signing of this Bill, the necessary governance structures will be established to implement the NHI based on the primary healthcare approach.

It says the real challenge in implementing the NHI lies not in the lack of funds, but in the misallocation of resources that currently favours the private health sector at the expense of public health needs.

COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator Matthew Parks elaborates.

“The National Health Insurance provides for a single National Health Insurance that will cover all South Africans. It guarantees the right to universal health care. It’s been piloted throughout the world in Scandinavia, in Europe with great success, it’s time that South Africa moves away from the apartheid legacy of unequal access to healthcare which comes at a terrible cost to working class communities and families. We welcome the President signing of the NHI Bill and we look forward to the implementation by government. It will take time to implement, this is one of the major transformation interventions by the state.”

President Ramaphosa signs NHI Bill into law:

Meanwhile, General Secretary of South African Medical Association Trade Union (SAMATU), Dr Cedric Sihlangu, says critics of the NHI Bill, which he says is largely made up of the middle class, speak against the Bill in order to preserve their privilege.

He says it is business that is driving fear mongering about the possible exodus of doctors due to the Bill coming into law. Sihlangu says there are many doctors who are willing to stay and fight for the improvement of healthcare in the country.

“What you find in terms of healthcare spend in the country which is approaching 9% of GDP is that the private healthcare sector is highly subsidized by the state, it spends equal to what we spend on 80% of the population and its only servicing 14%. We need to pull the resources together so that they serve everyone. “

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