NHI is not a competition – Motsoaledi

2012-09-20 14:37
Zinhle Mapumulo
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has called on the private healthcare sector to work with the government to ensure that the implementation of the National Health Insurance system is a success.

Speaking in Cape Town last night at the opening of the annual Hospital Association of South Africa conference, Motsoaledi told delegates that the NHI should not be viewed as a contest between the public and private healthcare sectors.

“The government has come up with elaborate plans to improve access to healthcare in South Africa and we need the private sector to work with us towards universal coverage so more South Africans could access quality healthcare,” he said.

Meanwhile, Motsoaledi unveiled a new part of the NHI last week which will deal with some of the bad habits that are making South Africans sick.

He said the government was planning to set up a National Health Commission to focus on disease prevention, before the NHI is launched.

“The NHI would never work if we continue to allow people to get sick from preventable diseases,” he said.

“We need a unit that will deal specifically with some of the issues making people sick.”

The National Health Commission will be tasked with tackling alcohol abuse, smoking, unhealthy eating, car accidents as well as encouraging South Africans to exercise.

The resolution to establish the commission was taken during the ANC policy conference.

Motsoaledi said it would take some time before it was set up as it still had to be adopted at the ANC elective conference in Mangaung in December.

“In the absence of the commission we must continue fighting alcohol abuse, smoking and other unhealthy habits that kill South Africans,” he said.

“Non-communicable diseases are exploding in this country because people are eating the wrong food and don’t exercise.

“Violence and injuries together form the second leading cause of death in South Africa and it’s all because of alcohol,” he said.

He also expressed concern about the growing number of people diagnosed with lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, and the rising rate of obesity among children.

Motsoaledi blamed parents for making their children obese.

“Our kids are driven from home to school and dropped in front of the gate.

“After school they are picked up from the gate, taken home and placed in front of a television with some fast food in hand,” he said.