Health minister uses NHI briefing to reprimand the media

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Sarel van der Walt
Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Sarel van der Walt

At a media briefing in Pretoria on Thursday Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi digressed from giving details on the National Health Insurance white paper that was approved by Cabinet and took the opportunity to take a swipe at the country’s media.

“We invited you here today to release to you and to the nation, the policy document on the National Health Insurance (NHI) after its approval by the Cabinet on June 21.

"But before I do so, I want to deal with other matters of national importance in health, which have emerged over the past few weeks all over the media, both print and electronic,” said Motsoaledi.

The health minister expressed disappointment at media reporting directed at his department over the past few weeks.

“We firmly believe that the people who raise these issues in the media have no intention at all to inform the public, but have every intention to rubbish the public healthcare system in the country by systematic and incessant attacks,” said the minister.

These remarks were directed to reports ranging from claims that there are numerous unemployed doctors looking for employment but are just sitting at home because the government is not willing to employ them, to the rubbishing of the college of medicine of South Africa.

Spokesperson to the minister, Joe Maila, explained that citizens were wary of the National Health Insurance due a lack of confidence in the country’s health sector.

“The manner in which the minister spoke to specific issues that negatively portray the country’s health care is actually another way of addressing the National Health Insurance issue,” said Maila.

This lack of confidence according to the spokesperson is due to persistent negative reporting from the media hence the reason why the minister had to first dispel these reports through specifically addressing different claims that have recently emerged in the media.

The National Health Insurance is a health financing system that pools funds to provide access to quality health care services to all South Africans, based on their health needs and irrespective of their socioeconomic status.

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