Key Points:

  • Reforming healthcare in South Africa is an urgent and extremely difficult challenge for our policy makers, one which presents opportunities and risks across both public and private healthcare sectors.
  • With only 41 per cent of South Africa’s working-age population participating in the economy out of 5.9 million registered taxpayers, the public healthcare sector has a very narrow base of ‘solidarity’ funding that it is banking on to achieve its healthcare goals for over 50 million people.
  • The government’s strategy for health sector reform has two complementary components: the introduction of an NHI System and the second is a comprehensive rehabilitation and revitalisation programme for the public health sector.
  • Private sector healthcare can contribute directly to the rehabilitation of the public sector through restoration and promotion of opportunities for private sector specialists to work in the public sector;  extension of private public partnerships  to hospital management, supply chain management and clinical services and easing regulations and developing joint public/private planning on health professional needs.
  • To best contribute to broadening access to quality healthcare, the private sector must address its rising costs by addressing both supply side and funding issues.
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