Stop fighting NHI - Motsoaledi

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi called on South Africans to embrace the NHI programme.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - South Africans should stop arguing about whether or not National Health Insurance (NHI) should be introduced, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Wednesday.

He told Members of Parliament (MPs) that universal health coverage, known here as NHI, was backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank.

South Africa plans to take 14 years to fully implement NHI.

The aim is to give every South African access to good quality and affordable healthcare no matter what their financial position.

Speaking during his budget speech vote in Cape Town, Motsoaledi said it was time to stop the bickering.

"While South Africans have been throwing mud at each other about NHI, we need to stop wasting our time. NHI has now gone global."

However, he said there will be a price to pay in fixing a broken public health system and drastically reducing the price of private care.

Motsoaledi said a white paper with details about the NHI would be released soon.

The NHI has been facing criticism, including from opposition parties, who are concerned that mandatory contributions would increase an already high tax load.

Private health schemes are also worried about the impact the NHI might have on their future.


The minister also announced that girls at state schools will be given a vaccine to prevent them from getting cervical cancer.

The vaccine protects them against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

"I'm extremely happy to announce that in consultation with the minister of finance and the minister of basic education, we have decided we shall administer the HPV vaccine as part of our school health programme by February next year."

It is only fully effective if administered before sexual activity begins.

"Cervical cancer affects 6,000 South African women annually and 80 percent of them are African women. Of the 6,000, between 3,000-3,500 die annually."

Motsoaledi said the vaccination programme will save many lives.