Cosatu welcomes NHI announcement

2010-09-22 15:15

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) today welcomed indications by the ANC that the first stages of the proposed national health insurance (NHI) will be implemented from 2012.

The union federation said: “We are delighted that this is now becoming a reality. At last we are about to remove one of the biggest barriers to access to health by the poor – money.”

Cosatu said the dire impact of apartheid on the organisation of South Africa’s healthcare system could still be felt, and was evidenced by the fact that the average black South African had a life expectancy of 48.

“Mortality and morbidity rates are unacceptably high, preventable communicable diseases are common, and diseases associated with extreme poverty still occur. At the heart of these damning statistics is the two-tier, wasteful healthcare system.”

Zweli Mkhize, head of the ANC’s health committee, said implementation would be staggered over three stages, starting in 2012 with a five-year phase focused on rural areas.

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