Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Pretoria: Public hearings into the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill are set to begin in October.

The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said official communication has been sent to all political parties represented in the National Assembly, informing them of countrywide public hearings into the NHI Bill.

“The purpose of writing to all political parties is to make sure that they inform their constituencies about the public hearings,” Dhlomo said.

The objectives of the Bill include achieving universal access to quality healthcare services in South Africa, in accordance with section 27 of the Constitution; establishing a National Health Insurance Fund and to set out its powers, functions and governance structures, and to provide a framework for the strategic purchasing of healthcare services by the fund on behalf of users.

The bill further aims to create mechanisms for equitable, effective and efficient use of the resources of the fund to meet the health needs of the population; preclude or limit undesirable, unethical and unlawful practices in relation to the fund and its users, and to provide for matters connected herewith.

The public hearings are set to start in Mpumalanga from 25 -28 October, and then move to the Northern Cape from 1 – 4 November.

Dhlomo said information about public hearings in other provinces will be communicated timeously before they begin.

“The public engagement process will also take place on weekends to accommodate people who are unavailable during the week. Venues, days and times will be communicated closer to the start of the public hearings.

“I urge all people to read the pamphlets distributed by the Department of Health so that they can educate themselves about how the NHI will benefit all South Africans. The information is critical in order to assist the committee to contribute to the bill.” said Dhlomo.