The National Health Insurance Bill specifies a funding mechanism that will achieve universal health coverage as a section 3(A) public entity.

SA has more than 150 section 3(A) national public entities and hundreds more in the provincial sphere that are run efficiently and with integrity.

The powers, privileges and consequence management set out in typical section 3A entities are no different to what is in the bill. There is a high index of confidence in section 3A entities as they have set a precedent of good governance and accountability.

Emanating from the health compact, the department has already implemented, and is seeing phenomenal results from, the public health infrastructure refurbishment programme and the health sector anticorruption forum, which has already detected and prosecuted in instances of fraud and corruption within the private and public sectors.

Our human resource capital has been boosted by various strategies such as the increase in the numbers of doctors trained (leading to the largest number of interns being placed to date in 2020), and the presidential stimulus package, which has allowed for the funding of more posts and the protection and retention of departmental savings to be redirected towards human resources for health.

These are a few examples of the government’s efforts in ensuring that the system will be capacitated for the NHI by the time it is implemented.

Medical practitioners, institutions and the public should be proud of being partners with the government, as we have successfully fought some of the toughest epidemics of our age.

We are well on the path to controlling the HIV and Aids epidemics, with districts following one another at an impressive rate in achieving the UNAids 90-90-90 targets. We have also substantially reduced under-five mortality rates, maternal mortality rates and infant mortality rates.

Protein energy malnutrition and large gastroenteritis wards are now almost phenomena of the past.

Due to what we have been able to achieve together, there is no doubt that we can achieve the next major advancement of the medical age — universal health coverage — through the NHI.

Medical practitioners and all interested parties will continue to be engaged through consultation processes held by parliament, through which concerns and suggestions about the bill can be raised.

Dr Lwazi Manzi, Department of health

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