NHI needs strong primary health care

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.

“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 R2 billion 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 adequate numbers of doctors, nurses to provide better care.”

Implementation of NHI will take time

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.

 (Sapa, July 2011)   

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