This article was published in The Conversation on international Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December:
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.
Here is the link for a blog post that has just been published on Oxfam’s Global Health Check – it summarises the recommendations of the paper in my previous post.
Doherty J. 2015. Achieving universal health coverage in Africa: is there a role for formal for-profit providers? Global Health Check. Available at: http://www.globalhealthcheck.org/?p=1841
Some new country UHC assessments have been added to the website of the Global Network on Health Equity (GNHE).
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
I’ve posted the link here because I am the editor of the series.
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.
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:
Go to the GNHE website to download the assessments.
Further assessments will be released over coming weeks.
Today is Universal Health Coverage Day.
Click here to find out more about the activities of this global coalition, including information sheets.
Here are the powerpoint slides for a recent presentation I gave about National Health Insurance to a Symposium by Economic Research Southern Africa (ERSA) on 6 February 2014: ERSA NHI presentation_Jane Doherty
The theme of the Symposium was “Critical choices regarding universal health coverage” and it was held at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study.
My presentation was titled “Getting South Africa ready for NHI: critical next steps.”
If you look on ERSA’s website you will find more details on the Symposium.
My latest book chapter has just been published:
Doherty J, McIntyre D. 2013. Addressing the failings of public health systems: should the private sector be an instrument of choice? In: Surender D, Walker R (eds). 2013. Social policy in a developing world. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
South Africa has begun producing a new type of health professional – a clinical associate.
You can read a bit more about clinical associates here but, in brief, they are people ideally suited to working in hospitals, helping doctors carry out some of their tasks – like dealing with emergencies and doing procedures.
Clinical associates don’t replace doctors or nurses – they work with them, sharing some of their workload, and allowing them to concentrate on the tasks for which only they are qualified.
There is no doubt that more doctors and nurses need to be trained and recruited into the South African health system. But will this alone solve the country’s staff shortages? Realistically, how many decades will it take to fill all the country’s vacant posts? Can the country afford a system exclusively based on doctors and nurses? Is this even necessary?
It takes less time to train a clinical associate. They can become very good at what they do because they focus on a special set of skills and are supervised by doctors. They are recruited from rural and disadvantaged communities. Health workers a bit like them have made an enormous difference to many health systems around the world, especially in Africa but even in the United States.
So clinical associates could do a lot to address staff shortages in the public sector, especially in district hospitals. They could help bring good quality care closer to communities in a way that is affordable for the country. Along with other initiatives – such as strengthening hospital management – they could help produce public services that live up to the aspirations of the NHI policy.
So why isn’t there more excitement about this new category of health professional? Why don’t we hear about them in the press or from government spokespeople?
Clinical associates are noted as a priority in the latest government human resource strategy but the future of clinical associates and the strategy of NHI need to become much more closely intertwined.