Primary health first, then NHI - official

2011-07-21 23:04
Bloemfontein - The National Health Insurance (NHI) would need a strong primary health care system for it to work effectively, a director in the national department of health, Khethisa Taole, said on Thursday.

“We need to make sure primary health care works better in each and every area of the country, in rural and urban communities,” he told delegates at a 'Primary Health Care Re-Engineering' summit in Bloemfontein.

Taole said government had put aside R2bn over the next three years for the "re-engineering" of primary health care in the country.

He said "re-engineering" was about improving the health system’s effectiveness.

"We need to make sure we have efficient numbers of doctors, nurses to provide better care."

If primary health care in South Africa does not work, it would create serious problems for the implementation of the NHI, Taole said.

He told delegates that the implementing of national insurance usually takes a long time.

“In some countries it has taken more than 10 years.”

Taole said it was important that everybody in public health care understood what the re-engineering of the primary health care system was about, because they need to know how to prepare for the NHI.

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