Parliament, Wednesday 15 March 2023 – The Portfolio Committee on Health was briefed by the Parliamentary Legal Services and the State Law Advisors on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.
This committee briefing forms part of the legislative processes for the NHI Bill. The briefing forms part of the process the committee must undertake to ensure that the Bill goes through the proper parliamentary processes. The committee has conducted a public participation process of provincial and virtual public hearings. Following that, the committee received inputs from the Department of Health (which is the sponsor of the Bill) responding to the inputs and recommendations received during the public participation process. Thereafter, the committee conducted clause by clause deliberations of the Bill.
Committee Chairperson Dr Kenneth Jacobs said the briefing today provided the committee with a legal opinion on the Bill. Further engagement will resume next week when the members meet to discuss the legal practitioners’ input.
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It calls on all stakeholders to work together to deepen the value and commitment given to mental health, reshape the environments that influence mental health and strengthen the systems that care for people’s mental health.
Register information coming soon here. hh WorldMentalHealthReport
On 20 July 2021, the SA NCDs Alliance is co-hosting and coordinating a people’s consultation on universal health coverage (UHC). This is especially for you if you use government health services.
The South African version of UHC is called “national health insurance” or NHI. But are we talking about the same thing? There are some big differences. What do you think?
The event is a virtual focus group lasting 2 hours with 30 participants. You can only participate if you apply. We want to hear your voice especially if you are part of a vulnerable or hard-to-reach group that uses public or government health services. So you need to complete that application form and showing us why your participation is important.
People who are left behind or have trouble having their health needs met before or during COVID-19?
Civil society participants, breakout group facilitators or note-takers.
We want to make sure that we hear from you, the people, and especially if you are in that “seldom heard” and vulnerable group. We can help a few selected participants with data package to participate on the day.
Government will in the next financial year avail an additional R8 billion to the health system for the country’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
This will be in addition to the R20 billion the state allocated in the 2020/21 financial year, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said on Wednesday, while delivering the 2021 Budget Speech, in Parliament.
In a Budget Review document, the National Treasury said the funds were to enable the sector to expand prevention, screening, testing and hospital capacity.
The R8 billion, which will be allocated to provincial health departments through the provincial equitable share, is expected to enable the sector to sustain these activities and respond to possible future waves of COVID-19 infection.
“Provincial governments receive an additional R8 billion in 2021/22 to continue the public health response to the pandemic, and the potential for additional waves of infection. Provinces can mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns on their revenues by improving efficiency, particularly in the procurement of health equipment,” said the Minister.
In total, the health expenditure function will over the medium term make up 14.2 percent of total government spending, declining from R247 billion in 2020/21 to R245 billion in 2023/24.
“Provincial health departments receive about 92 percent (R678.7 billion) of these medium-term allocations.
Reductions to the sector, mostly focused on compensation spending, are estimated at about R50.3 billion over the 2021 MTEF period,” the document reads.
To achieve this, other reductions would be required from health departments to increase efficiency. This included generating savings through centralised procurement of certain goods, reducing variations in unit costs in HIV programmes and improving management of overtime costs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the South African health system. As at 16 February 2021, the country had 1.5 million confirmed cases and over 137 000 excess deaths as reported by the South African Medical Research Council.
Over the MTEF period, R29.4 million is allocated to Tygerberg Regional Hospital and R100 million to Klipfontein Regional Hospital in the Western Cape through the health facility revitalisation grant.
Minister in the
Presidency Jackson Mthembu says South Africa will continue working to improve
access to reproductive health care services.
Speaking at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which is currently underway in Nairobi, Kenya, Mthembu said the newly completed five-year plan for the country’s 6th democratic administration affirmed that South Africa will in the next five years continue to improve access to reproductive health services, including targeting adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights in order to address pregnancies and risky behaviour.
The plan also
includes upscaling existing campaigns and programmes on new HIV infections
among youth, women and persons with disabilities and develop targeted programme
on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, including gender
mainstreaming, youth and disability issues in programmes, and addressing
South Africa will strive to further reduce child and maternal mortality and to
improve access to reproductive health services and anti-retroviral treatment.
Highlighting some of the country’s interventions in ensuring access to quality health services, Mthembu said the country is currently piloting the National Health Insurance (NHI) in order to enhance universal access to quality health care as well as to bridge the quality gaps that exist in the private and public sectors.
has also embraced the importance of extending free dignity packs to poor women
and girls with a view to improve women’s reproductive health and contribute to
the retention of girl children in schools who often miss school during their
confident that these interventions will ensure that we continue to place people
at the centre of our developmental agenda,” Mthembu said.
He said South
Africa continues to commit itself to tackling the challenges identified for the
2019 Nairobi Summit on #ICPD25.
Programme of Action commitments are centred around achieving zero unmet needs
for family planning information and services; zero preventable maternal deaths;
zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and
girls referred to as Ukuthwalwa; and providing detail for implementing second
phase of the democratic transition.
health care programmes
South Africa has also expanded reproductive health care through various programmes such as the Integrated School Health Programme which focuses on addressing both the immediate health problems of learners, including barriers to teaching and learning as well as implementing interventions that can promote their health and well-being during childhood and beyond.
The National Department of Health has introduced programmes such as B-Wise – a young person’s interactive cell phone health platform to empower adolescents and youth to make the right choices based on accurate information; and She Conquers Campaign – A youth-led campaign which will run for 3-years collaborating with government, NGOs, business, and civil society to address the major issues that adolescent girls and young women face in South Africa today.
South Africa has
over the last 25 years embarked on a number of legislative and policy
interventions which focus on the sexual health and wellbeing of young people,
as well as providing for women to choose a contraceptive method that they
prefer. The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act which was passed in 1996 has
ensured deaths from unsafe abortion has declined by more than 90%. Access to
Primary Health Care Services measured in terms of visits per annum, increased
from some 67 million in 1998 to over 128 million in March 2018. Furthermore,
the total numbers of new HIV infections declined from 270 000 in 2016 to 231
000 in 2018.
South Africa is currently also in the process of decriminalising sex work to ensure that the sex work industry is regulated and that women are protected.