Health grant

2009-03-11 00:00

Health minister Barbara Hogan this week announced that the South African Aids Council is investigating the possibility of providing a grant for people suffering from chronic diseases. As Hogan indicated, when very poor people suffer from chronic illness, their condition often pushes them further into poverty and despair — a life-threatening downward spiral that benefits society not at all.

So it’s good that some way of helping the chronically ill is being sought — even though the administration of the system and the funds may be very complicated, given the likelihood of corruption at all bureaucratic levels and in South African society at large. If it’s astutely designed and monitored in such a way as to work efficiently, however, it will provide those in dire need through illness with enough money to pay for food and shelter and thus to live in decency and dignity.

Further, it may provide a model for the establishment at last of the often suggested but never implemented Basic Income Grant, which could do so much to elevate the circumstances and raise the morale of very poor people, which is something that in the long term would have a generalised positive effect.

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