eHealthNews set out to make contact with all the South African political parties to procure their views and policies on implementing National Health Insurance (NHI) in South Africa – this is the Inkatha Freedom Party’s reply from Mr Dave James, a member of the IFP party and a confidante of Dr Buthelezi:
“In the opinion of Dr Buthelezi, the entire Health system has to be revisited. Whether it be in the form of an NHI system similar to the UK or of an alternate scenario is to be debated. As long as the system that is to be implemented is beneficial to ALL South Africans, of whatever culture.
A worrying aspect of our health system as it stands is the number of qualified medical personnel leaving the SA borders; this has to be addressed urgently.”
Further points were added by Essie Estehuizen, a member of the National Council of the IFP, who highlighted the party’s plans to change the health system in South Africa by increasing incentives and attracting South African medical professionals back into the country:
“Years of mismanagement have created a healthcare system that is failing our citizens. We say expand public and private training, re-open nursing and college and recruit and offer incentives to skilled nurses and professional people from this country that work in other countries to bring them back. Private sector – although providing exceptional quality the cost – is extremely high and the professional skills only benefiting a select few and access to the private sector must be increased by providing various tax incentives.”
On the IFP’s official website their healthcare policy declares that the state should provide free basic healthcare for pregnant women, children, sufferers of communicable diseases, and selectively targeted programmes i.e. AIDS and immunisation. Free healthcare should also be available to those who cannot afford to pay for the service.
The IFP health policy also mentions that working individuals should be obliged to purchase health insurance out of their own choice: such options should include insurance with a savings component and pre-funding for retirement, pay-as-you-go schemes, managed care or NHI. The IFP believes that all health care funds should be regulated to ensure financial stability, and to provide incentives for efficiency.