The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Faculty of Health Sciences hosted a Public Lecture under the Executive Dean’s Lecture Series. The lecture was delivered by the Faculty of Health Sciences Research Co – ordinator, Professor Champaklal Jinabhai on Wednesday, 13 March 2019 at DUT’s Indumiso Campus in Pietermaritzburg.
The lecture was titled: ‘Promoting and Protecting the Nation’s Health Through the National Health Insurance Programme’.
Prof Jinabhai defined the National Health Insurance (NHI) as a fund which will ensure that all citizens of South Africa (and legal long-term residents) are provided with essential healthcare, regardless of their employment status and ability to make a direct monetary contribution to the NHI Fund.
He touched on various national and international policy and constitutional frameworks that underpin the NHI, including the South African Constitution, the National Development Plan, National Department of Health’s Strategic 10-point Plan and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“The supreme law of South Africa, the Constitution through Section 27 of the Constitution provides that every person has the right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care. United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, which talks about ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all is the most important policy that underpins the NHI. It says by 2030 the health system should provide quality health care to all for free at the point of service or paid for by publicly or privately funded insurance. It further says we must achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all,” explained Prof Jinabhai.
He said the NHI is the proposed mechanism that South Africa will use as a vehicle to achieve targets that are outlined by these national and international policies.
Prof Jinabhai said the NHI is not yet at the implementation phase. “The National Health Insurance Bill is still a White Paper, and Parliament still needs to pass it as an Act. Government has not yet shared much details in terms of the implementation plan of the NHI including clarity on its funding model,” he added.
Students and staff members in attendance lauded the NHI but expressed their reservations about the lack of details in terms of its implementation. This prompted a suggestion from the audience that there should be a follow – up seminar that will be addressed by a senior official from the Department of Health, to provide more clarity on the implementation of the NHI.
Pictured: Professor C.C Jinabhai.