8 September 2019

Parliament calls for public submissions on NHI Bill

Business Day 2 September 2019 – The bill has already overcome its first hurdle, having been declared by the state attorney as not at odds with the constitution

Parliament’s portfolio committee on health has called for public submissions on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which contains the first concrete proposals for realising the government’s plans for achieving universal health coverage. The bill was tabled in parliament on August 8, and interested parties have until October 11 to make written submissions and indicate whether they want to make oral presentations to the committee. The call for submissions was issued on Sunday, and included advertisements in national newspapers. Once the bill has been passed by the National Assembly, it will be considered by the National Council of Provinces, which is also expected to conduct public hearings.

Gore: NHI won’t shift our focus

Sunday Times 8 September 2019 – Discovery CEO sees no big changes in strategic planning for local health business

Discovery CEO Adrian Gore has dismissed the idea it could shift focus from its local health business as plans to implement National Health Insurance (NHI) gain traction. “I think the appropriate view is that medical schemes have a very important role to play in the broader national healthcare system, therefore in our planning cycle we don’t predict any dramatic change in the future,” Gore said.

SA can learn about NHI from those who have it

Sunday Times 8 September 2019 – In countries that roll out universal health insurance, people still have to pay extra for healthcare cover over and above the mandatory payment towards state or private health insurance.

And no middle-income country has used a single-fund or single payment system to purchase universal health cover, as proposed in SA’s National Health Insurance Bill. This is according to healthcare actuary Barry Childs.

Almost a fifth of South Africans fear vaccines are unsafe

Business Day 5 September 2019 - This is a warning about the potential problem the state faces in ensuring enough of the population remains vaccinated to prevent disease outbreaks

South Africans have less confidence in vaccines and deeper mistrust of public institutions than their continental counterparts, according to a global survey from the UK-based Wellcome Trust. While the levels of distrust are far lower than those expressed in Western Europe, where there have been major measles outbreaks linked to vaccine hesitancy, the results are a warning light about the potential challenge the government faces in ensuring enough of the population remains vaccinated to prevent disease outbreaks.

Ex-cop and clinic admin clerk busted with stolen ARVs

The Star 5 September 2019 - The Mpumalanga Department of Health has suspended an admin clerk from Matsulu clinic after he was arrested for being in possession of Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) worth about R34 500.

Thapelo Sibusiso Magagula, 38 and his accomplice Caleb Bonginkosi Hlatshwayo, 33 were arrested  on Wednesday, August 28 after members of the Crime Intelligence and Tactical Response Team (TRT) received information about two men who were on their way to deliver ARVs to Kwanyamazane. 

Drugmaker MSD Africa calls for better health data

Business Day 5 September 2019 - Pharmaceutical manufacturer MSD on Thursday called for African countries to invest in better healthcare data

MSD is arguing healthcare data was vital for assessing the market opportunities for new drugs and diagnostics. MSD Africa managing director Priya Agrawal said a lack of incidence data – which measures the rate at which new cases occur – was holding back investment decisions.

Busa and health department set up team for NHI talks

Business Day 4 September 2019 - Business Unity SA’s concerns about NHI extend beyond investor sentiment, as its members are affected by any changes to the health system

Busa’s concerns about NHI extend beyond investor sentiment, as its members are directly and indirectly affected by any changes to the health system. Employers play a significant role in their worker’s access to healthcare — either by subsidising their medical scheme contributions, or by providing health services directly. And productivity is affected by the health of their workforce, whether it depends on public or private healthcare providers. Busa met health minister Zweli Mkhize last Wednesday, and he agreed to its proposal to establish a five-member team from each side to engage on NHI issues.

SA fares reasonably well in global NHI perspective

BizCommunity 4 September 2019 - Contrary to popular local belief, a global map of the percentage of the population covered by universal health cover shows South Africa to be in the high 90%, comparing favourably to most of the developed world.

Structurally-speaking, South Africa's system is set up to provide universal healthcare, using a means-based test for out-of-pocket payments while medical schemes provided for those who were did not have to rely on the public sector. However, this had not worked out from a resource and equity point of view. The private sector is expensive while the public sector is “not what it should be.” “Our problem is not so much structural, but much more about effectiveness of coverage and access to healthcare and the lack of equity in the system,” Childs says.

Health facility watchdog calls for more funds

Business Day 4 September 2019 - The Office of Health Standards Compliance says it will need a bigger budget if it is to take on new responsibilities under NHI

Siphiwe Mndaweni, CEO of the OHSC, told MPs that the organisation was struggling to fulfil its current mandate because of its small budget, which stands at R136.5m for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The OHSC was established in 2014 and initially only inspected public hospitals and clinics, but since February its responsibilities had expanded to include inspecting private sector facilities, she said.

Gauteng Health blasted over extension of irregular hospital security contracts

The Star 4 September 2019 - Gauteng Health blasted over extension of irregular hospital security contracts

In a statement, the DA's shadow MEC for health in Gauteng Jack Bloom said the revelation came from a written response to his questions in the legislature from health MEC Bandile Masuku.

Mkhize says a ‘hard fight’ ahead to improve SA’s ‘low quality ‘ healthcare

Medical Brief 4 September 2019 - government “will need to invest strongly” in raising the standard of public healthcare services and facilities, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said these are at “such a low level of quality” that his department will “have to fight hard” to improve them.

Mkhize said that government would handle the implementation of the NHI cautiously and had no intention of bankrupting the country. An IoL report says he told MPs that the measure was in line with “the principle of social solidarity” by which South Africans took care of each other.

Hybrid healthcare model is most likely outcome, says Discovery boss

Business Day 4 September 2019 - Discovery CEO Adrian Gore says implementing National Health Insurance (NHI) is fatally challenged by a lack of financial and medical resources.

While an appropriately funded and well-functioning NHI will be a step forward for the country, “I think at the core of the issue is that we don’t have the resources ... as a country to implement universal NHI, whether it be financial or healthcare resources,” Gore said.

Keeping the patient at the centre of care

BizCommunity 3 September 2019 - Clinical outcomes rank above patient experience, with cost coming in a poor third, according to research on the value of hospital care.

The basic formula used to reach this conclusion calculates the value of care as the outcomes divided by the cost of a clinical event. The cost of clinical event was the price paid by the patient, medical aid - or both parties. Concurrently, the development and wellbeing of staff, leaders and healthcare professionals was central to creating best patient experiences and the best, most cost-effective outcomes. The patient’s experience, while one of the three mainstays of quality healthcare, has been understudied and under-used in value creation. Also, stakeholders in healthcare delivery often have conflicting goals, leading to differing approaches and detracting from the vital shared-value agenda.

Cancer could kill more people than heart disease in rich nations within a few decades

Business Day 3 September 2019 - In high-income countries, cancer now kills twice as many people as heart disease, researchers say

Publishing the findings of two large studies in The Lancet medical journal, the scientists said they showed evidence of a new global “epidemiologic transition” between different types of chronic disease. While cardiovascular disease remains, for now, the leading cause of mortality worldwide among middle-aged adults — accounting for 40% of all deaths — that is no longer the case in high-income countries, where cancer now kills twice as many people as heart disease, the findings showed.

Elders support SA’s plans for universal health coverage

Business Day 3 September 2019 – Corruption levels should not stop the process of introducing NHI, they say, but phasing it in slowly is the way to go

On Thursday, former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland urged SA MPs not to let their concerns about corruption or the weak economy stand in the way of the that is National Health Insurance (NHI).

Mkhize says team to fight corruption in NHI

The Star 3 September 2019 – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says they will set up an anti-corruption team that will include civil society and investigating agencies to fight corruption in the National Health Insurance

The DA and EFF members said they worried that politicians will line up their pockets in the NHI Fund. Mkhize and MPs were meeting with the Group of Elders in the national legislature to discuss NHI.

POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Global leaders in SA in support of the NHI

Business Day 1 September 2019 – Global leaders known as the Elders are expected in SA this week in support of the National Health Insurance (NHI). 

Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway in 1981, 1986/1989, and 1990/1996, will be in the country to promote the health insurance initiative. Also in the country is Ricardo Lagos, the former president of Chile.

Publication date: 9/8/2019