National Health Insurance holds the potential to drastically improve health care across South Africa; civil society is organising to secure its success
Key members of civil society recently formed the National Health Insurance Coalition (NHIC) to collectively respond to and help develop National Health Insurance (NHI). The NHIC also intends to jointly endorse key submissions on NHI, encourage civil society participation in the NHI policy process and launch an advocacy campaign, among other things.
This week, the NHIC published a discussion document to facilitate exchange over the Green Paper on NHI. On 7 – 8 December 2011 the Department of Health (DoH) held an international consultation on NHI, during this consultation the NHIC held a successful side meeting to discuss the way forward.
NHIC comes at a crossroads in the development of NHI. The DoH has published the Green Paper on NHI, invited commentary and signaled an eagerness for input from civil society. The next step will be for DoH to publish a White Paper on NHI.
Engagement and dialogue from civil society are crucial during this stage of the NHI policy development process. In this moment of contingency NHI’s failure or success may depend on our efforts; collective action and public debate are the fulcrum, we must use them now. Together we bring a more forceful voice to the debate, and can ensure that NHI achieves its potential to be a major step toward quality health care for all.
Members of NHIC and signatories to the discussion document include: People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA), SECTION27, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Black Sash, Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) Rural Rehab, Rural Doctor’s Association of South Africa (RuDASA), Passop, EarthLife Africa, Africa Health Placements (AHP).