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Quality affordable health for all

Written by More Matshediso

A fundamental condition for a country’s growth and development is a healthy and productive population, with access to quality, affordable healthcare. 

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who delivered the State of the Nation Address in Cape Town recently.

The President said government has noted the support from South Africans during public hearings on the National Health Insurance (NHI), and it is putting in place mechanisms for its implementation once the Parliamentary process in concluded.

According to the Department of Health, the NHI is a financing system that will make sure all citizens of South Africa (and legal long-term residents) are provided with essential healthcare, regardless of their employment status and ability to make a direct monetary contribution to the NHI Fund.

Government has already registered more than 44 million people at over 3 000 clinics in the electronic Health Patient Registration System.

“[We] are now implementing this system in hospitals.”

Speaking to the nation about efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, President Ramaphosa said about 6.8 million South Africans know their HIV status, about five million people are on antiretroviral treatment and about 4.2 million people’s HIV viral load is, as a consequence, undetectable.

“These are not just statistics. These are lives being improved. They are signs of progress,” the President said.

Furthermore, he said the Nelson Mandela/Fidel Castro Medical Student Training Programme in Cuba has yielded positive results. “It has produced over 1 200 medical doctors and a further 640 students are expected to graduate in December 2020,” the President said.

“This programme is a living monument to these two great revolutionaries,” he added.

He said South Africa has steadily improved the reach of education, improved the quality of healthcare and has tended to the basic needs of the poor.