TAC participated in a public imbizo at Ikamva Lethu on Dec 6 at 11am to discuss the community’s feedback about the proposed National Health Insurance.
Several representatives spoke about the plan. Mr. Mbele, a representative from COSATU, spoke about the workers’ perspective on the proposed NHI plan. He said that the union supports the NHI system because it promotes solidarity among all South African citizens. “Since it is those who are employed who will contribute to the NHI, the workers stand to benefit as well as contribute to the NHI”, he said.
“This NHI will open doors for everyone who can’t afford a better medical treatment right now”. Mr. Mbele also noted that COSATU will rely on community members to be the whistler blowers once the NHI is implemented, to share their experiences if the NHI does not conform to the guidelines that they promised. “The NHI relies on the community to make the NHI system work”, he concluded.
Sister Mpumi, who works at the Ubuntu clinic and is also a TAC activist, spoke on behalf of the nurses. She said that they also welcome and support the NHI system, which will make a huge difference in accessing better health care services for everyone. She noted that currently the public sector (which is the first point of contact for many people) is being inadequately considered by government. Nurses’ salaries are not adequate and this does not motivate people to give better health care. She said that most of the staff in the public sectors are overworked, overburdened and underpaid.
She further mentioned that in South Africa, only a few people have medical aid. She highlighted a personal example: “If we were all to be in an accident, my medical aid scheme would fly me away to a better clinic and leave everyone else at the accident scene. The NHI pledges solidarity for all South Africans, and those who work will pay for those who don’t”.