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Services that will be provided by the NHI’s “basket”

BY ESTELLE ELLIS – 01 September 2019

Health minister Zweli Mkhize. 
Image: TimesLIVE

According to the policy speech of health minister Zweli Mkhize, officials are considering services along the following lines:

  • Maternal and child and neonatal health;
  • Sexual, reproductive and adolescent health;
  • Services for the elderly;
  • Rehabilitative and palliative care;
  • Treatment for lifestyle diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer, including preventative care and screenings;
  • Integrated mental health;
  • Oncology;
  • and Communicable diseases, such as HIV/Aids, TB and malaria, will also be part of the initial critical package.

Will it help to keep your medical aid?

Department of health deputy director-general Dr Anban Pillay said if the NHI did not pay for a procedure or consultation, a patient may self-fund or go to an alternative private funder.


Will this mean the nationalisation of private health facilities?

“There are those who mislead the public by suggesting that the NHI will result in the nationalisation of private healthcare facilities,” Mkhize said.

“We have no idea how these weird concepts enter into people’s imagination.

“This is untrue. All private practices, dispensaries and hospitals will remain in the hands of their private owners.

“What will be possible is the entering into agreements for private facilities to render specific services under NHI, in addition to the public facilities.

“All those will have to be accredited by the Office of Health Standard and Compliance before they can enter into agreement.

“There will be similar standards for public and private [health facilities].

What will it cost?

South African Private Practitioners Forum’s Dr Chris Archer said it was disingenuous at best and a gross failure of due diligence at worst that the bill was published without a costing model.

It is concerning that attempts are being made to implement NHI without the government providing any clarity on what the initiative might cost and how it will be funded in the current economic climate.

Who will be covered?

According to the bill, South African citizens, permanent residents, refugees, inmates and certain categories of foreigners will be entitled to health services.

Asylum seekers and illegal foreigners will only have access to emergency medical treatment or services for conditions of public health concern, such as contagious diseases.

The children of asylum seekers and illegal foreigners will have access to basic healthcare services.