Speech by Hon Beatrice Ngcobo during the National Assembly`s debate on the State of the Nation Address

20 February 2013

Honourable speaker
Deputy President
Honourable members and guests

We come from the most very fragmented health system that cared for the few and according to colour in their separate wards and clinics.

Mr President you were correct when you made health as one of the apex priorities among others and when you introduced the NHI – which allows for equitable Universal coverage as required by the constitution, the Freedom Charter and recommended by WHO. The Alma Mater during the 20th century called for "Health for All the 2000". The country is fulfilling that call.

Building blocks have been put in place since 2009 in readiness to implement the NHI. These are hospital revitalization and building new health establishments to make public hospitals places of choice. Private hospitals are segregative and extremely costly and do not allow for Universal coverage.

The Green Paper on NHI was published in 2011 – August for public comments. We are going to be awaiting the white paper on NHI.

In 2012, a Bill on the establishment of the Office Health Standards of Compliance was published. Public comments took place and the Bill was passed by the National Assembly in November 2012, however there are some additions that came from the NCOP and those will be taken care of. The Act calls for the establishment of the following units the Inspectorate. Ombud and the Certification office.

Pilot districts by province:

  • Eastern Cape: OR Tambo
  • Free State: Thabo Mofutsanyana
  • Gauteng: Tswane
  • KZN: Umzinyathi, Umngungundlovu and Amajuba (by the province)
  • Limpopo: Vhembe
  • Mpumalanga: Gert Sibande
  • Northern Cape: Prixley KaSeme
  • North West: Dr Kenneth Kaunda
  • Western cape Eden communities have been mobilised

Mr. President the NHI will be rolled out from April to 533 in designated pilot clinics in districts, 600 general Practitioners have been registered to date to see patients at the 10 Clinics for now. Various health personnel will be available including the community health workers, nurses, retired nurses and others. Communities have been mobilised and are still being mobilised.

Further, Mr. President you have announced that the fund for NHI will be made available next year. PHC is being piloted in the designated districts

Mr President you announced the HIV and AIDS programme in 2009 that;

  1. Pregnant women are started on ARVs early and have to start attending ANC at 14 weeks to diagnose any other condition.
  2. Prevention of mother to child transmission has decline 8% of babies died in 2008 and 2.7% in 2011. There is a decline in mortality rate of infants and fewer than 5s as estimated by the MRC.
  3. VCT campaign, more than 13m, came for testing and were predominantly women. It would be good if man came forward too.
  4. Male Medical Circumcision; more youth is opting for this procedure which is further supported by the Zulu Monarch.
  5. The President is leading the campaign; the Deputy President chairs SANAC as well as the Minister of health.
  6. SA has the largest treatment programme in the World.
  7. There has been reduction in the cost of ART. The money saved is used to put more people on treatment.

Industry has reported a decline on absenteeism as people are no longer sick (Old Mutual). Life expectancy has extended in the past 3 years 61 years (MRC).

I thank you