Yesterday, the Health Ombud, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, admitted to Parliament that the Department of Health would be unable to implement National Health Insurance (NHI).
The DA has raised numerous concerns with the NHI Bill that seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Hopefully, the ANC was paying attention to the Health Ombud during the briefing on their 2021/22 annual report to the parliamentary portfolio committee on health, because they have stubbornly persisted in ignoring warnings from the DA and health sector experts.
Prof Makgoba laid bare the reality of systemic mismanagement, crumbling infrastructure and chronic staff shortages when he told Parliament, “as things stand today we couldn’t go into the NHI with the level of inspections and certification we have done so far, because I suspect most of the hospitals will not meet the high standard required of the NHI”. The Western Cape was the exception to the rule.
The Health Standards Compliance (OHSC), in which the Health Ombud is situated, would play a crucial role in inspecting and certifying health facilities, yet their annual reports highlighted the staff shortages as a weakness.
OHSC CEO Siphiwe Mndaweni said that the OHSC were hoping to implement their new organogram that will decentralise functions and activities to provinces in order to inspect more facilities.
Unless the ANC government follows the OHSC’s example of decentralization, replaces cadres with competent managers free from political shackles, and ensure the eradication of all channels of corruption, not only will the NHI be nothing but a dangerous pipe dream, the current universal public health system will continue to deteriorate.