The origins of National Health Insurance

The White Paper on National Health Insurance was published on 11 December.

This draft policy has its origins in debates that emerged in the late 1980s.

For those of you interested in the history of these debates, read the publication below that was published by Wits University’s Centre for Health Policy in 2000.

The document talks about the important design features of different policy proposals during the 1990s, as well as the lessons learned during this time with respect to managing the process of policy development.

The document is out of print, but I’ve managed to resurrect it using an old copy.

Doherty J, McIntyre D, Gilson L, Thomas S, Brijlal V, Bowa C, Mbatsha S. 2000. Social health insurance in South Africa: past, present and future. Johannesburg: Centre for Health Policy, for the Centre for Health Policy (University of the Witwatersrand) and the Health Economics Unit (University of Cape Town).

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Achieving universal health coverage in South Africa requires higher public sector spending

This article was published in The Conversation on international Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December:

Doherty J, McIntyre D. 2015. South Africa needs to spend more on health care to achieve universal cover. The Conversation – Africa. 12 December 2015.

#FeesMustFall and the campaign for universal health coverage

To mark the second international Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December, my colleague, Di McIntyre, and I have just published an editorial in the South African Medical Journal.

The article argues that both the education and health sectors have been underfunded since the demise of apartheid. This is for several reasons, including fiscal policy choices.

Strengthened public funding is required for both sectors, not only from a human rights perspective, but also because economic growth depends on investment in these sectors.

You can read the article here.

Will for-profit private providers help low- and middle-income countries reach universal health coverage?

Doherty J. 2015. Achieving universal health coverage in East and Southern Africa: what role for for-profit providers? Paper presented as part of Panel Session T03P13: Private sector and universal health coverage – examining evidence and deconstructing rhetoric. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1993.9682. The International Conference on Public Policy, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy, 1-4 July 2015.

This paper cautions that regulatory frameworks governing the behaviour of the for-profit private health sector in Africa are weak.

These frameworks need to be strengthened before promoting the growth of the for-profit private health sector.

This is because, if poorly regulated, the behaviour of the for-profit health sector can lead to health system distortions that undermine progress towards universal access to affordable, quality health care.

More detail on legislation in the region can be found in:

Doherty J. 2015. Regulating the for-profit private health sector: lessons from East and Southern Africa. Health Policy and Planning; 30(3); i93-i102. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czu111.

Progress towards Universal Health Coverage in Fiji, Ghana, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Zambia

Some new country UHC assessments have been added to the website of the Global Network on Health Equity (GNHE).

  • Bangladesh
  • Fiji
  • Ghana
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Peru
  • South Africa
  • Taiwan
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia

I’ve posted the link here because I am the editor of the series.

Universal health coverage assessment: South Africa

If anyone missed this in an earlier blog, I’ve posted a preliminary assessment of South Africa’s progress towards universal health coverage here.

The purpose of the assessment is to use what data are available to analyse the extent to which South Africans are enjoying financial protection against the costs of using health care services, and accessing the services they need.

GNHE universal health coverage assessments for Bangladesh, Peru, South Africa, Taiwan, Tanzania and Uganda

To celebrate Universal Health Coverage Day, GNHE (the Global Network on Health Equity) is releasing a series of assessments about the progress towards financial risk protection and access to quality health care for all in:

Bangladesh

Peru

South Africa

Taiwan

Tanzania

Uganda

Go to the GNHE website to download the assessments.

Further assessments will be released over coming weeks.