New NHI to be introduced in stages says Minister Phaahla

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Minister of Health Joe Phaahla says the country’s new National Health Insurance (NHI) will be introduced in several stages, not just at once.

Phaahla reiterated the importance of a phased introduction

While responding to a written Parliamentary Q&A, Phaahla stated that the stage-by-stage introduction is necessary. This is due to the magnitude of reforms the new system will introduce.

A programmatic approach is needed based on the financial resources that are available. Speaking about the first phase of the implementation of the NHI, Phaahla said:

  • It will continue implementing health system strengthening initiatives – this includes the alignment of human resources with that which may be required by users of the fund;
  • It will include the development of NHI legislation as well as amendments to other legislation;
  • It will include the undertaking of initiatives that’s purpose is establishing institutions that must be the foundation for a fully functional Fund and;
  • It will include the purchase of personal health care services for vulnerable groups which include women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
While responding to a written Parliamentary Q&A Minister Phaahla stated that the programmatic introduction of the NHI is necessary. Photo: GCIS / Flickr

What is the Insurance’s starting point?

In terms of the starting point, Phaahla revealed that the current status, as well as the availability of resources and capacity, are just a starting point for the NHI.

“The resources available for the establishment of the reformed health system, where providers are paid by the fund, are the current resources of the entire public and private health sectors. This includes all health establishments, personnel and technologies currently in use.

“The capacity to roll out the reforms described in the NHI Bill starts with the commitment and stewardship of parliament to improving the health system for all. The leadership will be provided by the National Department of Health. To this end, the minister of Public Service and Administration has approved a special transitional NHI Branch in the Department of Health to serve as the incubator for the Schedule 3A entity,”

said the Minister of Health.

BusinessTech reports that the new posts will be financed through funds that have been earmarked from Treasury, at the beginning.

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