NHI is fundamentally about social justice - Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa believes that the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill can and will be a success, as it will provide "good quality health care" for all, irrespective of their background, race or creed.
"Everyone should have access to healthcare based on need, and not money. When it comes to health, there should be no differentiation," Ramaphosa told stakeholders and the media at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria on Friday morning.
The president met with stakeholders for a consultative meeting under the theme "Working towards good quality healthcare for all", where the aim was for stakeholders to emerge from the meeting having collectively considered and exchanged ideas about the proposed reforms in the legislative and regulatory framework of South Africa's healthcare system.
Stakeholders from the health sector, community leaders, health professionals, non-governmental organisations, trade unions and community organisations were in attendance.
In his address, Ramaphosa emphasised how health should be seen as an investment.
Shortage of healthcare professionals
"I am convinced that our approach to health needs to be seen as an investment because, when our people are healthy, they become productive," Ramaphosa said.
Government has been working on policy and programmes to achieve universal health coverage through the NHI for close to a decade.
"NHI will ensure that all our people, whether you are black or white, rich or poor, you will be able to access a comprehensive range of health care services," he said.
Ramaphosa, however, also acknowledged how the shortage of professionals had compromised the health sector.
A report by the Office of the Health Standards Compliance (OHSC), tabled in Parliament, stated that health facilities which were inspected, on average, met less than 50% of the required standards.
This prompted Ramphosa to urge stakeholders to discuss the severe shortage of professionals within the health sector.
"Our health professionals have indicated that they are overworked and exploited. Quality of service cannot be improved by a fatigued and demoralised professional," he noted.
Ramaphosa said he hoped that South Africa's healthcare system would become one of the best among the world.
"The provision of quality healthcare is in our hands. We are the key factors to make this happen," he concluded.
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