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NHI ensures quality healthcare for all
​The National Health Insurance is a health system aimed at
providing access to quality and affordale health services
to all South Africans.

South African citizens, permanent residents, refugees, prisoners and children born and living in the country can look forward to a new health financing system that will provide everyone with essential and high quality healthcare.

The government initiated National Health Insurance (NHI) seeks to promote Ubuntu, which means “caring for each other”, writes Romita Hanuman-Pillay.


WHILE some citizens can afford to pay for medical aid cover, others are not so fortunate. This is all about to change as government will upgrade all facilities to ensure that there is no difference between a public and a private facility. This is because all NHI facilities have to be the same standard as they will be governed by the Office of Health Standards Compliance.

WHAT IS NHI?
The NHI will be available for all citizens, regardless of their employment status and ability to make a direct monetary contribution. This is because quality healthcare is a basic human right and should not be reliant on how much one earns. However, it is a sad reality that many people cannot afford this and as a result, are subjected to poor medical treatment which may even worsen their health.

The largest benefit of NHI is that the burden of disease in the country will be reduced, the majority of the population – and the section suffering the greatest ill health – will access good quality healthcare. This will ensure that timeous treatment and preventative measures are in place to stop the progress of diseases.

HOW DOES THE NHI WORK?
The NHI will combine the public and private health care funds and merge it into one fund that that will pay for everyone. It will offer all South Africans and legal residents access to a defined package of comprehensive health services. When a patient visits an NHI facility, they will not pay cash or medical aid contributions.

Patients will also immediately be referred to a specialist if necessary. If the patient does not want to utilise the specific referral process, they will have to pay for it themselves. Remember, if you register with NHI, you do not have to pay any taxes towards the programme just yet. Just visit your doctor and register.

Government will pool available funds to upgrade health facilities, train and employ more staff, improve public healthcare, implement relevant systems and will ensure that corruption and maladministration is uprooted before rolling out the NHI.

If you are wondering about your medical aid, they will still exist, but will not offer the same services as the NHI. For more information on the NHI, visit www.health.gov.za

romita.hanuman@durban.gov.za

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