Jun 2012

Health- NHI takes off in KZN

NHI takes off in KZN

It’s all systems go to ensure that the R33 million pilot phase of the National Health Insurance (NHI) runs smoothly in KwaZulu-Natal. To this end, a team of managers have been identified to champion the NHI in the province.

“They will be tasked with ensuring that the public is brought on board. There is clear communication on how the NHI will work so that people are able to participate having the correct and necessary information,” said Dr Sibongile Zungu, head of the provincial Department of Health.


Manage and monitor

The department has established an NHI project management office that will report to the MEC and the head of the department every two weeks.

The pilot phase will focus on improving healthcare and the performance of various health institutions. The phase involves improving primary healthcare, including the appointment of district specialist teams and creating family health and school health teams.

The projects office will manage the pilot phase and the NHI grant. It will also coordinate the functioning of the department, including setting up a public relations office and a research desk.


Private Sector

The MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said that during this phase the department would work with and learn from the private sector, especially in areas such patient information systems, the establishment of the KZN Information Nerve Centre and a billing system. “Contrary to common belief, we will be engaging the private sector vigorously as we implement the NHI. We would, for example explore innovative models for service provider billing and payment of general practitioners and pharmaceutical companies,” he added.

Dhlomo said the impact of the NHI was dependent on individuals and communities taking responsibility for their own health. As part of its efforts to motivate and inspire people to follow healthy life- styles, the department has started a healthy lifestyle programme that will be rolled out throughout the province.


For more information, call the KZN Department of Health: 0800 00 5133

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