The Presidency has acknowledged the crisis gripping the public health system, and concluded a two-day summit at the weekend with a commitment to devise a plan for fixing the sector’s ills by early December. President Cyril Ramaphosa is taking the lead on health, driving a process aimed at improving the quality of services and speed up implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI). Only 8.87-million South Africans, or 15.61% of the population, could afford private healthcare via medical scheme cover in 2017, according to the Council for Medical Schemes, leaving the rest of the population dependent on public health services that have virtually collapsed in many parts of the country. The presidential health summit highlights the importance Ramaphosa is attaching to healthcare ahead of 2019’s election, and follows a summit on NHI he convened in August.

The latest summit drew more than 600 delegates from across the healthcare spectrum, including senior executives from SA’s priv...

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