SA’s ailing health system will get 13.9% of the national budget in order to increase awareness and access to services, establish a regulatory body and fund universal healthcare. But the elusive National Health Insurance (NHI) remains a vague concept. Finance minister Malusi Gigaba revealed on Wednesday that R191.6bn had been set aside for health in 2017/2018 and R205bn in 2018/2019. This is set to grow to R240bn by 2020/2021. About R126bn is earmarked for tertiary hospital services and R66.4bn will support HIV/Aids prevention and treatment. SA has the largest HIV/Aids treatment programme in the world, for 3.9m people. The health budget is the second-largest after education. The NHI fund was back on the cards after its maiden appearance in the budget last year. In 2017, then finance minister Pravin Gordhan allocated R5.2bn to set up the NHI fund. But Gigaba gave little detail about it during the medium-term budget policy statement in October. On Wednesday Gigaba said an additional R4...

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